Legal Action Against Central Sprinkler Co.

Oct. 5, 2001
Washington, DC – On July 19, 2001, Central Sprinkler Co. and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall to replace O-ring fire sprinklers. But is it enough?

Terms of the Voluntary Recall Program
According to the terms of the recently announced replacement program, free parts and labor will be provided to replace 35 million Central fire sprinklers with O-ring seals. The program also includes a limited number of O-ring models sold by Gem Sprinkler Co. and Star Sprinkler Inc., totaling about 167,000 sprinkler heads. Central initiated this action because it discovered the performance of these O-ring sprinklers can degrade over time.

Of special interest to building owners and managers, Central will provide, free of charge, replacement sprinkler heads manufactured by Central and the labor needed to replace the sprinklers. Central will arrange for the installation by using either its own Central Field Service crews or by contracting with "approved" professional sprinkler contractors. This replacement program includes two kinds of sprinklers, "wet" and "dry."

Property professionals should check their fire sprinklers (see list below) immediately to see if they are part of this voluntary replacement program. For more information on how to identify sprinklers subject to this program and to learn how to participate in this program, call the Notice Packet Request Line at (800) 871-3492, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or access the program's website (

BOMA Action
After reviewing the details of the voluntary recall, BOMA International has some serious concerns. These concerns include the potential waiting period, which may leave building owners and managers vulnerable; the suitability and durability of the replacement sprinkler; and the general operations of the claims program. BOMA and its counsel have sent a proposal to Central/Tyco suggesting improvements and modifications to the voluntary program. BOMA's end goal is to ensure that claims are handled in a timely and professional manner and that all specific needs of property professionals are addressed.

For more information concerning the issues mentioned in this column, log on to ( or email ([email protected]).

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