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Thor, Forest River Address Massive Kidde Recall

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November 8, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

An industry solution to the massive recall of Kidde brand fire extinguishers found in millions of RV units seems to be in sight, officials told RVBUSINESS.com Tuesday (Nov. 7) at the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at Bally’s in Las Vegas.

While it’s still very much a fluid situation, within the next week or so a special online portal will be created that RV dealers can use to accommodate consumers responding to the recall, said David Mihalick, senior director of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance for Thor Industries Inc., and Leo Akins, Forest River Inc.’s director of Quality Assurance, Codes & Standard.

In conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), Mihalick and Akins have been working together to seek a remedy for a recall that Mihalick estimated would affect 1.5 million units from his company alone. The two even arranged for a Kidde executive to address dealership personnel at the Con/Expo.

The CPSC issued the recall on Nov. 2 on two styles of Kidde fire extinguishers – plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers – manufactured between Jan. 1, 1973, and Aug. 15, 2017. According to the recall statement, the fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.

“At the time of the recall, there was a hotline set up – at 1-855-271-0773 and a website, Kidde.com – and anyone can be serviced by this,” said Mihalick. “But we’re waiting for a dealer portal to be developed here in the next few days and then once that’s set up, the dealership will be able to use the portal and be directly in communication with Kidde handling their needs so the industry is serviced immediately.”

“This is a very large recall and people need to be patient. We’re setting those things up and it’ll be in place shortly,” Akins said, adding that until the dealer portal is in place dealers can take care of units on their lots by using the customer service side of Kidde.com or calling 1-855-271-0773.

“If they let them know that they’re a recreational vehicle dealer, they’ll get immediate services in those returns until the dealer portal is set up. Once that’s set up, it will be a much more streamlined process for dealers to turn that around,” Akins mentioned.

As for units already in consumer hands, Mihalick and Akins said they are working together to determine the best method for notifying those people.

“It’s a substantial process because we’re going back 15 model years,” Mihalick noted.

Bruce Hopkins, RVIA’s vice present of standards, mentioned that Mihalick and Akins are “willing to share the 573 information so we can make sure we get other manufacturers in line to do this. Which I think is very, very admirable from these two guys to help train the industry and it’d be a great experience for the other manufacturers who are going to be on the line to be dealing with this, and they’ll help them out immensely. So, tip of the hat to these two companies to do that.”

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