Court orders refunds for Vanguard heat detector purchasers

Affirming the decision of a federal district court in Los Angeles, California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered on May 7 that Figgie International, Inc., pay to consumers requesting them full refunds for Vanguard heat detectors purchased during the period of May 17, 1980 through July 20, 1987. The decision, according to the Federal Trade Commission, stems from its charge that misleading claims were used to sell the heat-detecting devices.

Copies of the documents associated with this case are available from the FTC Public Reference Branch; Room 130; 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20580, (202) 326-2222.

Childproofing disposable lighters required

Noting that childproof disposable butane lighters will save at least 100 lives each year by reducing the number of fires started by children playing with them, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently has voted to require that the mechanisms be constructed so that they are “too difficult for most children under five to operate.”

Hie directive, according to The New York Times (June 10, 1993), applies to disposable butane lighters, inexpensive refutable lighters, and novelty lighters that resemble toys or depict cartoon characters; it includes lighters manufactured in the United States and abroad. The standard does not apply to expensive luxury lighters, which reportedly usually are not involved in juvenile firesetting incidents.

Massachusetts retrofit sprinkler law mandates compliance by 1998

Massachusetts has joined the states of Nevada, Florida, and New Jersey; the city of Los Angeles, California; and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico in enacting legislation mandating the installation of retrofit automatic fire sprinkler systems.

Under Massachusetts General Law 148, Section 26A’/2, building owners must follow a three-tier installation schedule and fully comply by the year 1998. It is anticipated that more than 710 buildings will be affected by the law, according to the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), Northern Illinois Chapter.

Noting that extensive retrofit packages are pending in other cities and states and on the federal level (the Hotel/Motel Fire Safety Act of 1987 calling for sprinkler systems in all hotels and motels across the country), Tom O’Connell of the NFSA observes, “Sprinkler retrofit law’s are gaining momentum and in the coming years are anticipated to increase in both their stringency and number.”

Fire Prevention Week theme announced

“Get Out, Stay Out: Your Fire Safe Response” will be the theme for events and materials commemorating this year’s Fire Prevention Week, to be held October 3-9.

“People need to understand how quickly fire in their homes can spread, and to stay out once they are safely out of the building,” stresses Meri-K Appy, assistant vice president for public affairs and education for the National Fire Protection Association.

For additional information, contact Julie Reynolds at (617) 984-7274.

Arson Prevention Act introduced

The Arson Prevention Act of 1993, which would amend the Federal Fire Safety Act of 1974, was introduced in Congress (H R. 1727, S. 798) April 20. At press time, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology was to begin hearings on the measure.

The proposed legislation “is aimed at aggressively dealing with one of society’s most deadly fire problems,” says Robert Whitemore, presidentelect of the International Association of Arson Investigators. It would establish a competitive grants program, which would be administered by the U.S. Fire Administration. Grants in the following areas would be awarded to as many as 10 states:

  • improving arson investigation training,
  • providing resources to form special arson task forces,
  • boosting new initiatives directed at fraud as a cause of arson,
  • developing new programs to combat juvenile arson,
  • improving training resources for rural firefighters, and
  • supporting research and new programs directed at civil unrest as a cause of arson.

For more information, contact Whitemore at (612) 349-8500.

Grinnell boosts WPI scholarship fuad

Worcester (MA) Polytechnic Institute has announced that Grinnell Corporation in Exeter, New Hampshire, has contributed SI5,000 to its Fire Protection Engineering Distinguished Scholar Endowment fund. Total commitments have brought the fund past the midway point of its SI million goal.

“Endowment earnings will be used to support continued excellence in teaching and scholarship among WPI’s fire protection engineering faculty, which will be accomplished through funding various combinations of teaching assistantships and sponsored lectures, adding specialized equipment, and supporting faculty in pursuit of scholarly interests,” explains David A. Lucht, professor and director of WPI’s Center for Firesafety Studies.

WPI offers postgraduate programs in fire protection engineering, fire research, and technology transfer.

NFA announces research awards

James Lee Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, recently presented Outstanding Research Awards to four participants in the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. The Academy is part of the U.S. Fire Administration, an arm of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Cited were Ed Hayman of the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District in Spring Valley, California; Curt T. Grieve of the Florin (CA) Fire

Department; Thomas R. Wood of the Boca Raton (FL) Fire Department; and Thomas G. Alexander of the Kettering (OH) Fire Department.

The citations were awarded for the following projects:

  • Hayman: “Wood Shake Shingles: the 800-Year Old Problem,” which presented a strategic analysis of fire prevention programs;
  • Grieve: “A Comprehensive Study of the Attitudes, Opinions, and Commitments Regarding Physical Fitness
  • Standards for Fire Suppression Personnel as a Safety and Health Issue”;
  • Wood: “A Study of Structure Fires and Fire Sprinkler Systems in U.S. Fire Stations”; and
  • Alexander: “Leaders as Role Models—The Influence of Leader Role Models on Personnel Behavior and Development.”

Copies of the papers are available from FEMA Publications, Room 324, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472.

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