Bill Dedman of MSNBC.com reports that the U.S. government took 5 years to react to warnings made in 2000 that firefighters' PASS alarms were failing to perform as intended. These units sound an alarm and flash lights if a firefighter has been motionless for 30 seconds. Documents made public under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that nine deaths occurred after the federal government blocked an investigation by its own expert into possible failures of PASS alarms and other firefighting equipment. The CDC, the federal agency responsible for investigating firefighter fatalities, finally called for higher testing standards for the devices in April 2005.
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