The World Fire Safety Foundation
Fire Fighter’s WARNING! - USA & Canada
MELBOURNE'S chief fire officer has admitted the MFB does not check its own smoke alarms - despite preaching to the community about the importance of routine checks.
Transcript Excerpts:

00:00 ABC-Annie:  How often does your smoke alarm go off when you burn the toast?  It’s pretty annoying isn’t it?  But you probably at least the alarms working - it’ll wake you up if there’s a real fire in your home.

Think again.

The kind of alarm you most probably have fitted is something called an ionization alarm and my next guest believes it’s not going to save your life (sic - it may not save your life) in the event of a house fire.

Adrian Butler is a former Fire Fighter and he’s from the World Fire Safety Foundation.  Adrian welcome to Summer on ABC local radio.  You’ve been on a mission for many years to get us to move away form these ionization alarms. Why?

00:34 WFSF-Adrian:  Because Annie as you mentioned there is a serious problem with them.  While they will go off when you cook toast, in the smouldering stage of a fire, that’s the early stage when it is most critical, the CSIRO’s own evidence proves that in most cases they don’t go off at all.

00:48 ABC-Annie:  Can you explain how an ionization alarm actually works?
Adrian Butler
Chairman, WFSF
Former Fire Fighter
Annie Gaffney
ABC Coast FM Presenter
“They heard the smoke alarms going off.
Why was it followed by screaming?”
The CSIRO (Australian Government Testing Agency) has conclusive, documented, empirical scientific evidence proving these things aren’t safe. Why doesn’t
someone just join the dots and warn the public?
00:51 WFSF-Adrian:  Sure, well there’s two types ionization and photoelectric.  Ionization alarms work off heat. So when you’ve got heat like from the red hot heating elements from the toast or the griller, they emit sub-micron particles that will activate the alarm. However, if you’ve got a smouldering type of fire which is what happens typically when you’re asleep at night, in that type of fire, it’s very low heat, it doesn’t generate those sub micron particles, the particles are a lot larger and an ionization alarm won’t detect those larger particles.

However, a photoelectric alarm will, and that’s why the official position of all Fire Brigades in Australia and New Zealand, since the 1st of June 2006, is to install photoelectric smoke alarms in all homes:

03:03 ABC-Annie:  . . .There’s been some absolutely tragic fires in Queensland over the holiday season.  Celebrity chef Matt Golinski on the Sunshine Coast was badly burned and his wife and three daughters died on Boxing Day when their house burnt down.

It’s not conclusive what happened in that fire or even whether alarms were fitted. But there’s been a very interesting case emerge in Box Hill Victoria that perhaps highlights what you are talking about Adrian.

A blaze started in a fire station where there were ionization alarms fitted but they didn’t go off to warn a fire fighter asleep in the station at the time. Apparently fire fighters in Victoria do urge the public to fit these photoelectric smoke alarms but they didn’t have them fitted in their own building.

03:42 WFSF-Adrian:  Yeah, that really tragic Annie. Peter Marshall, he’s the secretary for the United FIre Fighters Union down in Melbourne, he said the ionization alarms, and I quote, “did not detect the fire.”  Well crikey, these guys have had this position, it’s been their official position to only have photoelectrics since June of 2006. We’re talking - what’s that?  Six years ago!
When are they going to join the dots?
These things (ionization alarms) are deadly.
. . . A leading firefighter was asleep when he
was woken about 1.40am to a burning taste in his mouth . . . United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall said ionisation smoke alarms installed at the station did not detect the fire.
When are they (the MFB, and most other Australian Fire Brigades - not the Union) going to join the dots? These things are deadly. We’ve been saying for 12 years they’re deadly - they should be banned and recalled. The evidence is available.  The CSIRO has conclusive, documented, empirical scientific evidence proving these things aren’t safe.  Why doesn’t someone just join the dots and warn the public?

04:50: . . .We mentioned before about the United Fire Fighters Union in Melbourne - the International Fire Fighter’s Association in America, they’ve got over 300,000 members.  They issued a press release just two months ago saying, don’t replace your battery, replace your smoke alarm with a photoelectric.

06:50 WFSF-Adrian:  . . .Now we don’t know what happened in the Golinski fire, but a number of the neighbours have said that they heard the smoke alarms followed by screaming.  So it’s still too early in the investigation.  But it begs the question, if they heard the smoke alarms going off, why was it followed by screaming?  Why didn’t the people just get up, put the fire out, and go back to bed?”

07:10 ABC-Annie:  So we’ve got very little time to get out of a house and ionization alarms are just not going to wake us up in time.
. . . Your message to Australians listening now about smoke alarms? 

07:38 WFSF-Adrian:  Immediately replace your ionization alarms with photoelectics and put them in all bedrooms and exit
Peter Marshall he’s the secretary for the United FIre Fighters Union down in Melbourne, he said the
ionization alarms, and I quote,
“did not detect the fire.”

Peter Marshall

Don’t Just Change Your Batteries – Change Your Smoke Detector, Too

“Using better (photoelectric) smoke detectors
  will drastically reduce the loss of life among
  fire fighters and citizens because it will mean
 earlier detection of fires and result in faster
 response by emergency crews,”

The International Association
of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Official

Position on Smoke Alarms - August, 2008

Most Fire Fighters around the world have been misled about ionization smoke alarms.
Discover the facts for yourself - YOUR lives are at needless risk:
A WARNING TO ALL Fire Fighters
What You May Have Been (Mis)Led To Believe:
Please Examine These Facts:
“There’s nothing wrong with ionization smoke alarms.”
     The 300,000+ member International Association of Fire Fighter’s official position, since August 2008 (see above) is, “Using better (photoelectric) smoke detectors  will drastically reduce the loss of life among  fire fighters and citizens, AND  Ionization smoke alarms may not operate in time to alert occupants early enough to escape from smoldering fires.”
“Ionization smoke alarms are OK because they pass the
 Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard.”
     Underwriters Laboratories (UL), who wrote the US Smoke Alarm Standard, are currently being sued for their alleged fraudulent testing of ionization smoke alarms:
    The Australian Standard has been formally acknowledged as being flawed:
“We don’t have an official position on smoke alarms.”
“We’re not allowed to recommend one type over another.”
“Any smoke alarm is better than no smoke alarm.”
    WARNING If you make this statement in defence of ionization alarms, without disclosing the fact that they are defective, and your statement is relied on by a member of the public resulting in death, you could personally be held to account.  See the “A Special Duty of Care’ section here:
“But ionization alarms have saved countless lives.”
     Ionization alarms have saved some lives. However, because they may fail to activate in a timely manner in the earliest, most critical stage of a fire, when it is smouldering, their failure has led to countless deaths.
     See ‘Ionization Smoke Alarms Are DEADLY’ where David Isaac member of Standards Australia Committee states ionization alarms have contributed to an unacceptable level of injury and death.
“Ionization alarms are better at flaming fires and
 photoelectric alarms are better at smouldering fires.”
     This statement is grossly negligent. Ionization alarms will give you seconds earlier warning in the flaming stage of a fire.
     However, photoelectric alarms can give you over 30 minutes earlier warning in the smouldering stage of a fire AND will still activate in time for you to safely escape if the fire does not have a smouldering stage (i.e. when someone has lit a fire with a match or an exploding gas cylinder etc.)
“There are two types of fire and you don’t know which you’re
 going to have in your home, so for maximum protection you
 need both an ionization and a photoelectric alarm.”
     Sounds like it makes sense?  After decades of the fire industry failing to tell the public, and especially our fire fighters, the truth about ionization alarms they now want you to promote/endorse two alarms.
     Dual alarms mask the fact that the ionizations alarms they misled you into promoting/endorsing for decades are dangerously defective.  See the IAFF resolution above explaining why they do NOT recommend dual ion/photo smoke alarms.  Also check out the ComboCon article.combocon.htmlshapeimage_43_link_0
“Ionization smoke alarms have cut fire deaths by 50%.”
     This is a fraudulent statement with absolutely no basis in fact. Fire deaths have dropped due to factors such as, less smoking; elimination of kerosene heaters; better electrical safety; public education by fire brigades; safer, less flammable clothing and furnishings; hyprerbaric breathing chambers and other improved medical procedures;  etc.
Note: US statistics show that the number of deaths per thousand fires
          remains the same today as it was in the 1970’s - 8 per thousand.
     We launched our campaign in the year 2000. Fire Brigades throughout Australia, New Zealand and the USA insisted there was nothing wrong with ionization alarms. In September 2004, after appearing on national Australian TV (see below), the Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities Council, the peak representative body of all Fire Departments in Australia and New Zealand (AFAC) commissioned the Victoria University (VU) to produce a report based on international research on ionization vs photoelectric smoke alarms.
       After examining VU’s report (which was never made public), AFAC released their official position on smoke alarms (see above) agreeing with virtually everything the Foundation had said for the past six and a half years.
        Tragically, due to the decades of misinformation (mostly from ill-informed US Government Departments), most Australian Fire Brigades have failed to adequately promote AFAC’s official position.
In the past five years we have worked extensively  in the USA where significant progress has been made:
We are self-funded We do not sell anything.  We do not accept donations. We do not have a bank account:
“Photoelectric smoke alarms are new technology.”
     Photoelectric smoke alarms have been available since the mid 1960’s.  In 1980 the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) warned, in their ‘Residential Smoke Alarm Report’, that ionization smoke alarms may not safely activate in smouldering fires and lives were at risk.
     The IAFC now claim they never officially published this report. The report, and the receipt from the U.S. Library of Congress, where it was photocopied from the IAFC’s official, ‘International Fire Chief’ magazine of September, 1980, is at:
The truth about just how DEADLY ionization smoke alarms actually are has been kept from the public and fire fighters for well over 30 years. See the film, ‘Smoke Alarm Recall.  In working with numerous US Fire Departments, City Councils and other authorities, we have found one common thread.  Once they hear the truth, if they take the time to examine the evidence, most will take positive action to promote photoelectric alarms/eliminate ionization alarms. However, the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly.  Too slowly!

As a former full-time fire fighter I have, like so many others, been deeply moved by the Christmas 11 Tragedies - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

It is time for Fire Departments around the world to make a stand against those who have allowed these DEADLY ionization devices to
be sold to an unsuspecting public, to be unwittingly endorsed by our fire departments and to have contributed to untold fire fighter deaths.

What YOU Can Do - TODAY:
Insist on photoelectric alarms being installed in the sleeping areas of YOUR fire station,
EVERY time you are in the media, always mention the IAFF’’s official position to install photoelectric alarms in all homes,
When asked, “Is there is anything wrong with ionization smoke alarms?”home.htmlevidence.htmlshapeimage_50_link_0shapeimage_50_link_1
“But we’ve been promoting photoelectrics for years.”
     Many Fire Brigades pay lip-service to promoting photoelectric alarms.
Yes, they are mentioned in some brochures and on some web pages.
     However, how many times have they been mentioned in the media since AFAC’s official position of 01 June, 2006?  Almost never.
As the IAFF have stated above, photoelectric smoke alarms will, “drastically reduce the loss of life among fire fighters and citizens.”  Please send every fire fighter you know to this webpage and to read the ‘Ionization Smoke Alarms are DEADLY’ report in the December, 2011 issue of the Volunteer Fire Fighter Magazine.

Thank you.

Adrian Butler
The World Fire Safety Foundation
Chairman, Co-Founder, Former Fire Fighter
Queensland, Australiavffa.htmlshapeimage_53_link_0
“You must be selling smoke alarms.”
“I’ve never heard of the World Fire Safety Foundation.”
“I’ve been a fire fighter for twenty years and I’ve never heard
 of photoelectrics.”
“My ionization alarms, are really sensitive, they nearly always
 go off when I cook toast.”
‘Smoke Alarms’ - A Current Affair,   22 September, 2004
“If manufacturers are aware of this.
why aren’t they alerting the public?”
David Isaac, Pertronic Industries, 22 Sept, 2004
“The fire develops a long smouldering. phase that fills the house with smoke,.
it’s unlikely the smoke alarm will work.”
Elise Mooney, A.C.A., 22 Sept, 2004
A Personal Note to Fire Fighters
Melbourne, Australia - 03 Jan, 2012

Harold A Schaitberger
General President, International Association
of FireFighters (over 300,000 members)

04 November, 2011

17 WHEREAS, research indicates that both
18 ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are
19 intended to provide occupants time to escape.
20 However, ionization smoke alarms may not operate
21 in time to alert occupants early enough to escape
22 from smoldering fires; and
23 WHEREAS, current research indicates that
24 ionization smoke alarms detect flaming fires
25 marginally earlier than photoelectric smoke.
26 However, ionization smoke alarms are far more
27 prone to nuisance alarms increasing the probability
28 that they will be disabled by building occupants; and
29 WHEREAS, photoelectric smoke alarms
30 detect smoldering fires and fires starting in areas
31 remote from smoke alarms significantly earlier than
32 ionization smoke alarms; and
33 WHEREAS, dual alarms, also called
34 combination alarms, that contain both technologies
35 are available but the benefit over photoelectric in the
36 response to fires is marginal. They are more costly,
37 and they will experience the same nuisance problem
38 as ionization smoke alarms;
IAFF Official Smoke AlarmResolution
August 2008 - extract (emphasis added)
    P.S. Check out the Australian and New Zealand Fire Fighter’s position.firefightersaunz.htmlshapeimage_69_link_0
Chief Jay Fleming
Fire Fighter’s WARNING! - USA & Canada
“. . . Ionization smoke alarms may not operate in time to alert
 occupants early enough to escape from smouldering fires.”
Position on Smoke Alarms in Residential Accommodation, AFAC, 01 June, 2006  page 3, clause 3
Tell the Public the Truth - Explain the Official Positions of:

USA & Canada: The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
Note: The IAFF is the world’s largest fire fighter’s union with over 300,000 members
Australia & New Zealand: The Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC)
Note: AFAC is the peak representative body of all Australian and New Zealand Fire Brigades

International Association of Fire Fighters Committee Resolution on Smoke Alarms, August, 2008
Kimberly King investigates the difference between ionization and photoelectric alarms
P.P.S. The Foundation would like to thank Boston’s Chief Jay Fleming for his tireless work advocating for photoelectric
            smoke alarms.  See his letter to the Queensland Coroner and letter of thanks from AFAC Here > > >tt.htmlshapeimage_79_link_0
Check out the November, 2011 Texas
Fire Fighter tests and WFSF commentary
regarding the manufacturer’s defence
of their DEADLY ionization smoke alarms:
Here > > >nbc5.htmlshapeimage_81_link_0
Most Fire Fighters have NOT been told the truth about ionization smoke alarms.
Listen to the ABC radio interview then scroll down to the bottom of this page
and discover the facts (and fallacies) about ionization smoke alarms for yourself.