Australia's & U.S. Flawed
Smoke Alarm Standards


Ionization smoke alarms have life-threatening defects.

Standards Australia writes the Australian smoke alarm standard (AS3786-1993).
The Australian Government (CSIRO) tests and certifies them as conforming to the Standard. Standards Australia have formally acknowledged AS3786-1993 is flawed

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) writes the U.S. smoke alarm standard (UL217).

U.L. tests and certifies them as conforming to the standard. UL have been sued for alleged fraudulent testing of ionization alarms, i.e. allowing them to pass an invalid smoldering fire test.


CSIRO test data proves ionization alarms are unable to activate in smoldering fire tests until 2-3 times the maximum safe limit set for photoelectric smoke alarms.

Standard Produced By:


Underwriters Laboratories

Smoke Alarms Tested By:

Underwriters Laboratories

Separate Tests for Ionization
and Photoelectric Alarms



Most ionization smoke alarms currently installed in Australian (and some) U.S. homes are tested by the CSIRO to Australia's Smoke Alarm Standard AS3786-1993

"The Motherhood Clause"

 AS3786-1993 states smoke alarms must
 "respond reliably to the presence of smoke."

Both these ionization alarms
use the word "smoke"




The public expectation is that both alarms will respond reliably to
the presence of visible smoke.

Both alarms tested to the U.S. Smoke Alarm Standard, (UL217) and carry UL's 'seal of approval'

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Ionization 'Smoke' Alarm Labeling Misleads Consumers

Ionization alarms are sub-micron particle detectors.

They are incapable of detecting visible smoke.

(if in doubt see the 'Aquarium Test')

"Ionization alarms do not respond to visible smoke.

  As I've said, they will respond to heat and flames

  but they will not respond to visible smoke."

David Isaac, 60 Minutes, 'The Alarming Truth'
Extra Minutes 11 October 2014  |  NSW Australia

David Isaac, Standard Australia Committee Member FP002

What is "smoke"?
Smoke is defined as "
visible" particles.

The public perception of smoke is something you can see:

U.S. Dictionary Definition of Smoke

U.K. Dictionary Definition of Smoke

Australian Dictionary Definition of Smoke

C.P.S.C. Petition - Misleading Smoke Alarm Labeling

Duty to Report to CPSC: Rights and Responsibilities of Businesses


If you are a manufacturer, importer, distributor, and/or retailer of consumer products, you have a legal obligation to immediately report the following types of information to the CPSC:

A defective product that could create a substantial risk of injury to consumers;

A product that creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death; . . .


Failure to fully and immediately report this information may lead to substantial civil or criminal penalties.  CPSC staff’s advice is "when in doubt, report."

Clause 2.1 of AS3786-1993 (above) states smoke alarms must "respond reliably to the presence of smoke." However Table 3.1 of the Standard specifies two separate test criteria that both ionization and photoelectric alarms are subjected to when they are tested to AS3786:

Photoelectric Alarms: A test for visible smoke (percent light obscuration per metre)

Ionization Alarms: A test for invisible particles (number of invisible particles)

The FP002 Committee of Standards Australia corrected the flawed Standard so Ionization alarms would have to
pass a valid test - a test for (visible) smoke.

The corrected standard eliminated the test for sub-micron particles so, like in the USA, there would be one test
for both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms:

To be continued. . .


Questions?  Email Adrian Butler, Chairman WFSF:


Albert Einstein

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not

  because of the people who are evil, but

 because of the people who do

 nothing about it."

"All that is required for evil

to triumph is for good

men to do nothing."

Edmund Burke