A widespread recall of smoke detectors has prompted some concern locally, where devices of the same brand name were installed through a program offered by the Mount Airy Fire Department.
Some of the detectors made by the Kidde company have been linked to a manufacturing flaw that prevents the alarms from activating during a blaze.
“However, it is not included in any of the ones we have gotten from the Office of the State Fire Marshal or the Red Cross,” Mount Airy Fire Chief Zane Poindexter said Tuesday of agencies providing detectors for local distribution.
That occurred most recently in May, when the devices were supplied free to homes without detectors in the area of Marshall, Durham and Depot streets as part of an ongoing program targeting neighborhoods deemed at risk.
The model numbers for the smoke detectors on the recall list, PI2010 and PI9010, were checked against those installed by the fire department, which revealed that neither was involved.
There is a possibility that smoke detectors on the recall list, not installed by the fire department, have found their way into local residences due to being acquired elsewhere. The alarms linked to the problem were sold at Walmart, Home Depot and other stores nationwide from September 2016 to January of this year.
“We just want to get the word out that some types of these alarms have been recalled,” Chief Poindexter said Tuesday, of which residents might be unaware. “There may be some in our local area.”
Model and date information can be found on the back of the alarms. The recall has identified more than 450,000 smoke detectors altogether.
Officials say the problem involves a yellow cap that was left on some alarms made by Kidde, the largest manufacturer of fire safety products. That cap covers one of two sensors, which can prevent consumers from being alerted to smoke.
“Smoke detectors are what saves lives in these one- and two-family dwellings that are not protected with sprinkler systems or hard-wired smoke alarm systems,” Poindexter said of the critical role the devices play.
As a public service to city residents who do find smoke detectors in their homes linked to the recall, fire personnel will replace those from among a small supply they now have on hand.
Consumers have been advised by Kidde to remove the alarm to look for the presence of a yellow cap, and if the alarm has one, to contact its customer service personnel for instructions on ordering a new one. They can be reached at 833-551-7739 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Mount Airy Fire Department has installed free smoke detectors of other brand names besides Kidde during its neighborhood-canvass programs that have been under way for several years.
“Luckily, we’re never had any actually recalled that we’ve put up,” the chief said.
Poindexter said the department is proud of what it has accomplished through the smoke-detector campaign, which involves two different parts of town annually.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.