Fire Detectors

TitleFire Detectors
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsHarris, CE, Pritchard, MS, Rabins, MJ
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsbusiness , BUSINESS ethics , ENGINEERING , HEALTH , professional , professional responsibility , PUBLIC , public safety
AbstractType A fire detectors are cheaper to manufacturer, sell at a cheaper price, but while they are good at detecting certain types of fire, they are less reliable in detecting smoldering fires, which constitute about 5% of all fires. Type B fire detectors are more expensive to manufacture and sell at a higher price, but are better at detecting both normal and smoldering fires, and are therefore safer. Jim's company could still stay in business if it manufactures only Type B detectors, because there is some market for them and fire detectors are only one of the products manufactured by Jim’s company. Jim takes seriously the engineer’s responsibility to hold paramount the safety and welfare of the public. He wonders what this obligation implies in this situation. In the long run, if more companies manufacture only type B fire detectors, more lives will be saved.
NotesCase from Harris, Charles, Michael Pritchard and Michael Rabins. Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2000. Available from the Wadsworth website.
Abbreviated Case NameFire Dectors
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