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Detectors: 
Smoke 
'What's

It Going to Take? 





by Mike Telleria



I
coupleofyearsagoI wasputonthe "DO NOT usethissmokealarmin oranother-alreadycallforsmokedetec- 
-fa.witnessstandandcalledaliarbya warehousesi,ndustrialor commercial torsonboats,buttheABYCcarriesmuch 

lawyerhiredbyanunhappyboatowner buildings,special-purposneonresiden- morecloutwithrecreationabluildersand 
seeminglybenton destroyingtheyacht tial buildings,RVs,boats,or airplanes. surveyors.Foryearstherehasbeentalk 

builderI'veworkedwithformorethana Thissmokealarmisspecificallydesigned aboutgettingthisdone,andI recently 
job. not provide heard encouragingnews that there will 
decadeI.t wasan impressivehatchetfor residentialuse,and may 
I had answereda barrageof questions adequateprotectionin nonresidential almostcertainlybeasmokedetectorTech- 

during a videotapeddepositionmonths applications.". nical Information Report included in
before.Then,lateron the standin front ImmediatelyI imagined this passage the ABYC's2018update(with the intent 

ofajury,heaskedsimilarquestionsina thrownuponthescreenforthejuryto ofeventuallygrowingthatreportintoa
completelydifferentcontext.When one seewhile the Great Impeacherlawyer
full-fledgedstandard).However,similar 

of my answerswas inconsistenthe grilled me about equippingboatswith
pasteffortshavefailed,sowhat'sit going 
quicklypressedplayon thevideo-cued smokedetectorsthat say,"DO NOT put
to taketo work this time?

to the moment of my earlier,incongru- theseonboats!"Nevermindthatno I'veoftenheardinstandardsclasse s 
wall-sizedscreen. marine-approvedsmokedetectorsexist, that standardsarecreatedin responseto 
ent response-on a 
Satisfiedthathehadcaughtmeinsome andthattheyarenotrequiredonrecre- badthingsthathavealreadyhappened.
"No 
big,fatlie,heimmediatelydeclared,This reminds me of how ELCI shore- ationalboatsby anyU.S.lawor American
further questions!"and struttedbackto power breakerscame to be so widely Boat& YachtCouncil (ABYC) standard.

his side of the courtroom as if he had embracedas a meansto prevent death Of course,upon redirection that could
just takenout the trash.
andpropertydamage.I believethatthe allbemadeclearin utterlyboring,Iabo-

In that moment everylawyerjoke I tragicdeathofeight-year-oldLucasRitz
riousdetail,butthatwouldnt preventthe
hadeverheardrangtrue."Whatdoyou lawyerfromrejoicinginmakingmelook provided enough pressureto push

havewhen a lawyer is buried up to his like an incompetentimbecile:"What through some industry resistanceand 
neckin sand?""Not enoughsand."Yes, about the engine?What about all the createABYCStandardE-11.11.1a.rule 

now I getit-more sand,pleaseT! heway pumps?What about every'thingelseon that the industry now holds in high 
he his team twisted my answersto theboat?Did you evenbotherto checkif esteem.Similarly,Minnesotas Sophia's 
and 
manufacturethis choreographedlie (in anyofthat stuffshouldnotbeusedona Law,thefirststatelawrequiringcarbon 

anadditionalrhetoricalflourishhe boat,either?"
monoxidedetectorsonrecreationabloats 
brandedit an "impeachment")wastruly (installationmustfollowABYCStandard I've sincelearnedthat the subjectof

wondrousto behold.Thankfullythejury A-24), was passedlast year after the
smokedetectorson recreationabl oatsis
sawthoughhisblatanttacticandrejected atouchyone,provokingmorethana deathofseven-year-oldSophiaBaechler. 

everycomplaintbroughtagainstus.
decadeof infighting among advocates, Muyb. in this casesmokealarmman- 
And that brings me to smokedetec- manufacturers,vendors,surveyors,and ufacturers,standardsorganizationsa, nd 

torsonrecreationalboats.Recentlywe standards-settinbgodies[forexamples,ee otherscancometogetherandprovide
receiveda new-boatsurveystatingthat "WhereThere\ ProfessionaBl oat- Smoke,"
products and guidanceinsteadof wait- 

no smokedetectorswerefound andthat ing for anotherLucasor Sophiato force Builder No. 137-Ed./. We come at it
-ratedrecommended. the issueof smokedetectorson recrea- from a builder'spoint of view: An1'thing
UL-217unitswere
No biggie-they've been standard tionalboats.Theretalwaysmerit in mak- thatcanreasonablyprovideanearlyindi-

equipmenton our boatsfor years,and ing boatingsafer,andwebuilderswould cationof a fire is a goodidea.A marine-
this onejust hadnt beeninstalledyet.T o surely appreciatesome cover when it approvedunit that says"FOR USE on

be sure,I openedone unit to checkthe comes to defending ourselvesagainst boats"would be ideal.And we'd loveto
manual for the IJL-217 listing, which larn'ersouttoruinus. €D
seesmoke-detectorguidancefrom the

was right on top. I scannedthe rest of ABYCwith somerealteeth.TheNational
themanualoutofcuriosity,notlooking FireProtectionAgency,lnternational AbouttheAuthor:MikeTelleriaisan 

for anything in particular, until I landed Organizationfor Standardization,and ertgirteearndtechnicawl riteratI,{ordhayn 
on this passagein tiny print:
United StatesCoastGuard-to onedeqree \itcltts,in Dana Point,California.



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