UL, industry officials warn about fake sprinklers

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

NORTHBROOK, Ill.--Underwriters Laboratory issued a notification on July 14, about sprinkler heads that bear a counterfeit UL mark for the United States and Canada. The sprinkler heads are also marked with the word "Globe," but are not manufactured by Globe Fire Sprinkler Corp. of Standish, Mich.
While the counterfeit of "lower end objects such as extension cords" is not unusual, the counterfeit of a product as intricate as a sprinkler head is "out of the ordinary" said Joe Hirschmugl, UL spokesperson.
Steve Muncy, president of the American Fire Sprinkler Association agreed, but said word of the fake sprinklers was spreading fast in the fire industry. "We are making every effort to get the word out, and I'm sure that Globe will be proactive in getting the word out as well," he said. "The sprinkler industry has a big impact on the construction industry in terms of dollars, but the number of players and manufacturers is relatively small," he said.
Robert Worthington, president of Globe Fire Sprinkler Corp., was traveling and could not be reached for comment before press time.
Asked what advice he would give to fire systems installers, Muncy said, "I would caution anyone to look at the product," and he would direct them to the UL web site, which has a picture of the sprinkler head.
Muncy noted that since September 11, 2001, officials pay close attention to products coming into the country "from a terrorism standpoint, but less time and attention to other materials coming into the country."
"As counterfeit products are becoming more common and when you're dealing with a life-safety issue, and someone manufactures something [like these fake sprinkler heads] that have not been tested and likely may not work, it's very serious," Muncy said.
Globe Fire Sprinkler Corp. is a "major player in the fire sprinkler industry," Muncy said, but not the largest. The company manufactures fire sprinklers, valves, devices and accessories and has distributors located in most major cities.