Monday, April 23, 2001

Recall Round-up 2001
focuses on fire safety

This week, fire stations
are drop-off points for
recalled items

By B.J. Reyes

As an investigator with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, David Cheng has seen his share of household accidents, even deaths, that have resulted from the use of a product that had been recalled.

"We've heard it time and time again, especially with children's products, where the parents said if they had only known that it was recalled, they wouldn't have used it," Cheng said. "That would have prevented a death."

That is one main reason that the CPSC started its annual Recall Round-up program in 1997. The weeklong effort is aimed at informing the public about recalled products and collecting the defective items.

Recall Round-up 2001, which begins today, will focus on products that could cause fires. To help get the word out, the CPSC has enlisted the help of fire departments nationwide.

"In the past they've highlighted things like cribs and baby walkers and sleepwear," said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Richard Soo. "This is the first time we're getting involved."

According to fire department statistics for 1999, the latest year figures were available, home fires were blamed for one death and 19 injuries to civilians and caused more than $10.9 million in damage on Oahu.

Twenty-nine fire stations across the state have been designated as drop sites where consumers can take defective products.

Among the products that the CPSC is targeting are disposable or novelty cigarette lighters that are not child-resistant.

"They resemble things like different toys, maybe a ball, a soda can or little figurines, like Godzilla," Cheng said. "A lot of them have flashing lights; some even make sounds.

"I can see how a child would like to play with these."

Disposable and novelty lighters are required to be child-resistant to children under age 5, he added.

The CPSC also is targeting halogen torchier floor lamps lacking the proper safety device, a wire guard that prevents objects from coming into contact with the lamp's bulb.

In 1997 the safety commission recalled 40 million of the halogen lamps nationwide. Since then the industry has agreed to implement the wire guards. "These light bulbs can exceed 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and that's why they're so dangerous."

Other products in Recall Round-up include certain makes of extension cords that are frayed or have loose connections, hair dryers without immersion protection devices, children's decorative lamps and toasters.

Check your home for these products

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's Recall Round-up campaigns to rid homes of products that have been recalled. This year, the commission is focusing on products that pose a fire hazard.

These products include:

>> Novelty cigarette lighters that lack a child-resistant device and resemble flying saucers, cars, grenades, cellular phones, motorcycles or other toylike figurines. Brands include Kikkerland Designs, C&H Trading, ZNY Enterprises and Prometheus International Inc.
>> Halogen torchier floor lamps. All lamps manufactured before Feb. 5, 1997.
>> Hair dryers without immersion protection devices to prevent electric shock.
>> Extension cords with undersize wires, loose connections, faulty components or improper grounding. Brands include Wellmax International and Tools Exchange Inc.
>> Kmart "Little Ones" brand decorative wooden children's lamp.
>> Toasters. Brands include Black & Decker Spacemaker Optima Model T1000 Type 1 and Proctor-Silex models 24208 or 24205, serial codes A0379 through A3279 or A2589 through A3289.

Consumers with questions about Recall Round-up 2001 can call the panel's Honolulu office at 733-8710 or the toll-free hot line at (800) 638-2772. Recall information also can be found at the commission's Web site,

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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