Fire servcice’s warning over smoke alarms which could short-circuit

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
3:43 PM

Letters to 3,000 homes in Cambridgeshire

Fire chiefs in Cambridgeshire have issued a warning over smoke alarms that could start fires.

The fire and rescue service has written to 3,000 people with a FireAngel smoke detector, which firefighters hand out to homeowners, as their lithium batteries could short-circuit and overheat if they are damaged, which could cause fires.

The service is keen to remind householders that the potential for overheating is small and only will happen if the alarm is damaged by being tampered with or dropped from height.

Deputy chief fire officer Chris Strickland said: “It is very important to stress that the potential for fire is extremely small and could only occur if the battery was dislodged, and as a result suffered a lasting short circuit which would cause it to overheat.

“The problem identified is a well known and documented issue with all Lithium batteries, which carry an inherent risk of overheating if they are short-circuited. The affected detectors carry a potential risk because of the way the batteries are secured. A detector would need to be broken apart for the battery to be dislodged and then come to rest in a position where a short circuit across the positive and negative terminals occurred.

“Despite the extremely unlikely risk of an incident occurring, we have taken proactive action over the last few months to contact every affected household to replace smoke detectors. We have done this because we believe that any risk, however small, should be completely removed. We have also worked closely with the manufacturer to ensure that the risk of battery short circuit in new batches of the smoke detectors has been completely removed.”

Concerned householders needing further information should call the Sprue/FireAngel helpline on 0800 1412561 or e-mail technicalsupport@fireangel.co.uk

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