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Counterfeit Fire Extinguishers Pose Safety Hazard

posted: 4/22/2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. (LOG NEWS SERVICE) -- The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Marine Safety Alert March 21 to mariners, warning that counterfeit portable fire extinguishers are being sold as Coast Guard-approved Amerex Corp. or Buckeye Fire Equipment products.            

The alert warned that these counterfeit extinguishers present a significant safety hazard, as their capability to extinguish a fire is unproven and they may be charged with a powdery substance that is not a fire extinguishing agent. Also, the pressure cylinder of these counterfeit extinguishers is not Department of Transportation (DOT) approved -- plus, the pressure gauge may not function or may give a false reading.            

The Coast Guard said that the counterfeit dry-chemical extinguishers are size B II and may be identified by several distinguishing features including:            

* Duplicate serial numbers rather than a unique serial number for each extinguisher;            

* A simple printed label (genuine extinguishers include a security imprint: Amerex extinguishers have a pattern of scored circles, Buckeye units have the letter “S” scored into the label);            

* A rounded curved-in lip on the bottom of the counterfeits (genuine Buckeye extinguishers will have a date stamped on the bottom);            

* Wrong color pressure gauges, (genuine Buckeye units will have a red background),              

*Black or red plastic instead of silver-colored aluminum handles (although there are some genuine with plastic handles);             * Welded seams on the sides of the cylinders.            

The Coast Guard said that it “strongly recommends” that vessel owners and operators inspect their equipment -- and if they suspect that they have identified counterfeit extinguishers, email the Coast Guard Office of Design and Engineering Standards immediately at typeapproval@uscg.mil, providing a description of the suspect unit.            

The Coast Guard said it believe counterfeit production is not limited to Amerex and Buckeye extinguishers. It said that there has been an unconfirmed report that Badger portable fire extinguishers are also being counterfeited.            

The counterfeit portable fire extinguishers alert (Alert 01-13) with detailed photographs and other information is posted online at marineinvestigations.us.

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