When data and telecommunications cables are installed in buildings, they generally have to meet certain fire regulation and safety codes depending on where they’re installed. If the cables are installed in what are known as plenum spaces – or those in which airflow is present for air conditioning systems – the National Fire Protection Association maintains very strict and specific fire codes for those cables.
One way to avoid those restrictions is to instead use riser cables, which are laid in non-plenum areas, and therefore adhere to less strict fire standards. However, riser cables must still be manufactured with flame-retardant and self-extinguishing casing, otherwise they could cause significant additional damage in fire scenarios by assisting the spread of flames. Such is the case with approximately 11,300 boxes of CE Tech’s 1,000-foot spools of riser cable, as they have failed to meet the applicable fire resistance standards, resulting in their recall this week.
Riser cables which fail to meet the fire resistance standards may pose a variety of hazards, including the possibility that they could also ignite and allow flames to travel in the areas between the non-plenum flooring spaces, potentially causing severe additional fire damage and making it more difficult for people to escape the fire. Fortunately, no fires or injuries have been reported in association with the CE Riser Cables as of yet.
The cables are gray and are marked with (UL) E316395, while the boxes are blue and black and feature “CE TECH” in large letters on the front. Home Depot and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are urging anyone who may have installed these cables, sold nationwide from January 2013 through February 2013, to remove them immediately and return them to any Home Depot store for a full refund.