Defective and/or Incompetent Smoke Detectors at Diamond Apartments / Embassy Apartments

Yep, my smoke alarm is inefficient.

And that jeopardizes my life and personal possessions. It also compromises the life and property of any tenant who lives directly near my apartment unit.

And since my alarm is incompetent then there’s a chance that your smoke alarm might be incompetent.

Management needs to provide each and every tenant with what a fire marshal would call a ‘competent’ smoke alarm, and that would be an alarm that does not gamble with a tenant’s life. And then the defective and/or incompetent smoke alarm needs to be destroyed. As soon as Management furnishes me with a new alarm I’m going to smash the old one to bits with my favorite hammer.

Some apartment managers in the U.S. (and I imagine around the world) like to save money by not upgrading certain items like smoke alarms.

Other apartment managers are a little ‘clumsy’ because they are, for whatever reason, uninformed on important subject matters like smoke alarms. I sent Diamond Apartment / Embassy Apartment Management an email requesting a new smoke alarm. I am waiting for their response.

This post will be updated sometime between October 8 and October 20. It will be revised and overhauled with relevant information as to why some of the smoke alarms in various Diamond Apartment / Embassy Apartment units, and other apartment complexes in the U.S., might be declared defective and/or incompetent and/or pose as a significant risk to a tenants life, property and digital data.

in·com·pe·tent
1.Inadequate for or unsuited to a particular purpose or application.
2.Devoid of those qualities requisite for effective conduct or action.

Until this post is updated with said relevant information, it’s Management’s duty to know why a smoke alarm like the one in my apartment and the one in my 93 year old neighbor’s apartment would be considered inadequate.

The future update will include proof that is beyond reasonable doubt that will show that my smoke alarm, the senior citizen’s smoke alarm who lives in the apartment unit next door, and, potentially, other smoke alarms in other Diamond Apartment / Embassy Apartment units are either defective and/or inadequate.

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UPDATE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2012

I sent Management an email informing them that my smoke alarm needs to be replaced. They sent me an email that included a copy of Section 18 of the Rental Agreement. They did so in order to bring Section 18 to my attention. In response to Section 18 or the Rental Agreement, and in order to inform Embassy Apartments / Diamond Apartments of an unsafe policy that Management has in place regarding the use of incompetent smoke alarms, I sent them an email. Here is a copy of the email I sent them:

Embassy Apartment / Diamond Apartment Management forwarded me Section #18 of the Lease Agreement and that section says:

“The premises are equipped with a smoke detection device(s), and resident shall be responsible for reporting any problems, maintenance or repairs to owner. Owner shall have a right to enter the premises to check and maintain the smoke detection device as provided by law.”

1) Based on my first Embassy Apartment smoke alarm experience of great distinction, I would like to inform Embassy Apartment / Diamond Apartment Management that section 18 appears to be incomplete. It also appears to be intrinsically wrong. Intrinsically wrong because it omits critically important safety information: It does not inform the tenant that, much like a condom, a smoke alarm has an official recommended expiration date and/or a 10 year lifespan. Section 18 fails to inform the tenant that a smoke alarm should be destroyed and then replaced with a new one at the 10 year mark. That is a significant omission that can have a negative impact if a fire should ever start in an apartment building. In the interest of common sense and safety, I suggest that section 18 needs to be amended to inform the tenant of said official recommended expiration date/lifespan.

2) The smoke alarm in my apartment has been on my ceiling for 15 years. A consumer branch of the federal government declared it, the CodeOne2000, defective several years ago. That’s a serious problem. But that type of Section 18 ‘problem’, in this case a product recall notification, would not involve a tenant in that a tenant is least likely to be notified by the government or the manufacturer of the smoke alarm during the recall process. The recall process would start with the federal government, who would officially notify the manufacturer of the smoke alarm (Jameson Home Products) who would then, hopefully, officially notify the owner of the defective alarms (Embassy Apartments / Diamond Apartments). I would assume that Jameson Home Products does not know that I exist. I would assume that they do not know that Embassy Apartments / Diamond Apartments is loaning me a CodeOne2000. I would assume that Jameson Home Products does not know my name or have my contact information nor do they have the names and contact information of any tenant because tenants do not own the smoke alarm that is in their apartment unit. Management should have officially notified me, and fellow tenants, of the recall years ago, when the government mandated the recall. I’ll note that in the October 10, 2012 edition of USA Today that there is an article titled ‘Toyota Recalls 7.43M Vehicles for Fire Risk.’ One of the last sentences in that article states ‘Owners will get official notification of the recall by mail later this month.’ As stated, tenants do not appear to own the smoke alarm that Management provides to the tenant, it appears to be loaned out to the tenant.

3) I’ll note that Management has, on occasion, closely inspected my smoke alarm and on those occasions it should have been clear to them that, at the time of inspection, the CodeOne2000 smoke alarm was not only defective but older than 10 years of age. At the time of inspection Management said nothing/did nothing/acted as if the unit was a good unit when it fact the unit should have been destroyed due to being an inadequate safety device.

The question is: Was Management uninformed about the official recommended expiration date of a smoke alarm or did they fail to destroy it and then replace it with a new one for some other reason, for example, in order to save money? Either way, Embassy Apartment / Diamond Apartment Management compromised my safety, the safety of other tenants, and the safety of the building by not destroying and replacing my old smoke alarm.

4) It is possible that my CodeOne2000 was not one of the defective units in the batch, or on the list that was subject to recall. If that is the case, I think it would be wise, when discussing the recall of a life saving device like a smoke alarm, that one must take into account human error.

Human error on the part of a person and/or the government who may have declared my CodeOne2000 a good unit when in fact it may have been defective. But since a certain batch of CodeOne2000’s were declared officially defective I think the responsible thing to do would be to seize all CodeOne2000’s that are currently in place at 959 Felspar Street and then destroy them and replace each one with a new smoke alarm that has not been recalled by the federal government. Because it is a life saving device. Because of human error. Because in the event of a fire in an apartment unit it is better to be safe than sorry.

5) I took a look at Ms. Hanak’s smoke alarm in Apartment 2E and a) from the looks of it and b) from what Ms. Hanak said, she too needs a new smoke alarm. Keep in mind that as a senior citizen if her alarm fails to perform as it should her life and personal property would be in more jeopardy than you or I as she, being a 93 year old senior citizen, is not as fast on her feet as we are should she be in bed sound asleep when a fire breaks out. I’m not positive if Ms. Hanak’s alarm is a CodeOne2000. Ms. Hanak stated that her smoke alarm is probably the same smoke alarm that was in place when she moved in to her apartment unit in approximately 1998. That would make her smoke alarm a) approximately 14 years old and perhaps older than that and b) subject to being an inadequate/incompetent smoke alarm.

6) Management is gambling with the lives, personal property and digital data of tenants when they use and rely on a smoke alarm that is older than 10 years of age.

If management is not aware of the official recommended expiration date of a smoke alarm then Management is clearly uninformed and/or uneducated. It has been estimated that a smoke alarm that is older than 10 years of age may incur certain degradation, upwards of 30% degradation. On 10.09.2012 I destroyed my potentially defective CodeOne2000 smoke alarm with a hammer and had a new one put in place.

7) I would hope that Embassy Apartment / Diamond Apartment Management acts responsibly by taking action to a) make sure that each apartment unit does not have a CodeOne2000 smoke alarm in place and b) that each apartment unit does not have a smoke alarm that is older than 10 years of age in place. To not do so would be irresponsible and hazardous to tenants and their possessions.

8) I find it incomprehensible that, in this day of instant access to information thanks to computers, that Management did not inform tenant(s) of a recall mandated by the federal government for the CodeOne2000 smoke alarm.

I find it wrong and irresponsible of Management, and hazardous to tenants, to not keep track of all smoke alarms and to not seize and destroy any smoke alarm that is 10 years of age when spreadsheets are available for free on the Internet.

9) This Embassy Apartment smoke alarm experience of great distinction, regarding my expired and potentially defective CodeOne2000 smoke alarm, resembles another incident of similar distinction that took place in my apartment in late February 2009. It was then that I dodged the proverbial bullet: A fire almost started in my apartment that morning due to an electric short that took place outside on the patio. It was raining that day and the rain appeared to contribute to the near-fire. Out of the blue I heard a LOUD boom that shook me. My computer monitor went black. And then a large volume of smoke came pouring out of an area near the southwest side of my apartment unit. Afterwards, Management / Inga Nardone, acted in a way that was, on that day, very odd and inappropriate. If a fire marshal had been on the scene that day I believe that he, or she, would have approved of the quick-action that I took in order to stop a potential fire from spreading to nearby units and throughout the rest of the building. It is clear to me that some members of Management are not educated in certain principals of fire safety. Principals that would include the use of hardware like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire hoses.

10) I would hope Management acts mature and perhaps learns a lesson from this email and that they do what’s right for the community, and what is safe for tenants, by implementing changes in policy, as opposed to acting vindictive by seeking to retaliate against me by using sleaze tactics in order to garner revenge. Management’s policy of using smoke alarms that are older than 10 years of age is a procedure that needs to be changed as soon as possible. And Management should not discourage tenants to grab a fire extinguisher and a fire hose when a tenant sees and hears signs that are indicative of a fire that, potentially, is about ready to start.

11) To tenants on Felspar Street and around the world: Of course there are tenants who do not like smoke alarms. Some of them consider smoke alarms to be a nuisance. Some of them remove the batteries permanently to avoid false alarms. And then they may go out to drink and frolic in an attempt to find an attractive mate on a Friday night. Other tenants who choose to be sober may go to a 12 Step Meeting at the local Alano Club on a Friday night.

When both parties leave their apartment there’s a good chance they don’t stop and pause to think that when they come home their apartment and possessions may have gone to hell for having been lost in a fire. Because at that moment in time on a Friday night they take life for granted. There’s nothing wrong with drinking and frolicking or going to a 12 Step Meeting on a Friday night. And it’s natural to take life for granted when you’re preoccupied with a certain endeavor. Many tenants realize that a renters insurance policy obtained from an insurance company is a paper document that would be considered a highly valuable asset that provides peace of mind. Those same tenants should realize that a small piece of hardware, hardware like a smoke alarm that is under 10 years of age, is hardware that can be thought of as a secondary form of renters insurance that provides additional peace of mind.

The picture below is my old CodeOne2000 that I smashed with a hammer.

Peter Mack
Unit 2D

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