WA state creates sprinkler database

Friday, December 1, 2006

OLYMPIA, Wash.--As fire officials in the state of Washington continue their push to find and replace sprinkler heads manufactured by Central Sprinkler that may be faulty, they are also building a database detailing the location and make of other sprinklers in case there is a recall by a different manufacturer in the future.
The current recall is for sprinkler heads manufactured by Central Sprinkler--now owned by Tyco--which were voluntarily recalled by Tyco in 2001 after these sprinkler heads did not function properly during a fire in Spokane, Wash.
The problem with the recalled Central sprinklers is that they have rubber O-rings that may degrade over time. There are a few other manufacturers who used the same type of O-rings, but those products have not been found to be faulty. The database will help should that occur, said Anjela Foster, assistant state fire marshal.
Since the recall was announced, Washington fire officials have found and replaced 800,000 sprinkler heads. Officials believe there are 700,000 heads left in the state. These are thought to be in single- and multi-family homes.
"Our state is being proactive because Tyco has said that when they start to see a decline in the number of claims, they'll reevaluate the program," Foster said.With legislative approval in hand, the fire marshal's office began a year ago to take its campaign to different parts of the state, said deputy state fire marshal Karen Jones.
Carmine Schiavone, vice president of business development and communications for Tyco Fire and Building Products, said that "there is no official close date for the recall," but noted that the five-year-old program will not go on indefinitely. He called the program a success, and said that while Washington and Virginia have been particularly proactive, fire sprinkler contractors across the country have been successful in finding and replacing the sprinklers during routine inspection and maintenance.