NEW ZEALAND  The World's First, Nationwide, Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Legislation

"The Fire Service Should Tell the Public the Truth.
Ionization Smoke Alarms are a Dangerous, Deadly Device."

"From May 2020 the ionization smoke alarms found in most
homes globally, will fail the new U.S. smoke alarm standard. The public
should be told the truth; they are unsafe and that their families' lives are at risk."

Adrian Butler & Karl Westwell, Co-Founders, World Fire Safety Foundation (WFSF) | 18 Sept 2019

"We think Ionization alarms should not be sold and are working with retailers to remove them..."

Dr Paul Smith | Head of Testing, Consumer New Zealand | N.Z. Herald Report | 28 May 2018

Consumer New Zealand's Scientific Research
 
2006     |     2010     |     2014     |     2018

Dr Paul Smith

WFSF | The 20 Year Campaign to Save Lives
Since 2000, the World Fire Safety Foundation, the New Zealand Safety Council and Consumer New Zealand have been warning the public about ionization smoke alarms. Given the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence against them, why does the Fire Service keep defending them?

 

Consumer N.Z. | 12 Years of Scientific Research
In Consumer New Zealand's smoke alarm research, from 2006 - 2018, every ionization alarm, failed every smoldering fire test, every time. After the third
round of research, in July 2016, New Zealand became the first country in the world to introduce nationwide, photoelectric smoke alarm legislation.

 

FENZ | Defending the Indefensible
Tragically, despite overwhelming scientific evidence of their deadly defects, the Fire Service continues to fail to warn about ionization smoke alarms. Defending the indefensible puts the public and firefighters' lives at risk and enables the
needless loss of property, fire injuries and deaths to continue.

WFSF Visits Consumer New Zealand

WFSF Chairman, Adrian Butler, with Consumer New

Zealand CEO, Sue Chetwyn & staff  |  May 2012

David Calvert, Registered Safety Professional, Former CEO and
Fellow of the N.Z. Safety Council | NZSC 'Smoke Alarm Report'
July 2008 | Page 6, Para 5 (see report below)

"The New Zealand Safety Council is critical of the leadership
of the New Zealand Fire Service in failing to properly promote photoelectric alarms in accordance with AFAC's official position."

The Twenty Year Battle to Save Lives

The remarkable story behind the world's first nationwide photoelectric legislation.

David Calvert

Electrical Engineer
Registered Safety Professional

CEO, N.Z. Safety Council

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May 19

In the Beginning. . .

After selling thousands of ionization smoke alarms, Butler & Westwell discover a life-threatening problem.

 

'Silent Alarms' - Award-Winning Canadian Documentary
'Silent Alarms' the film that inspired the World Fire Safety Foundation's campaign to warn the public.

 

WFSF Documentary Launch: 'Stop The Children Burning' (STCB) - Australia
[NZSC: 1 of 5] STCB launched on national Australian TV. Endorsed by New Zealand Safety Council.

 

WFSF Documentary Launch: 'Stop The Children Burning' (STCB) - New Zealand

TVNZ's 'Close Up' report about STCB.  |  WFSF Chairman warns about flawed smoke alarm standards.

 

New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) Media Release Undermines N.Z. Safety Council's Warning

[NZSC: 2 of 5] NZFS Media release in response to N.Z. Safety Council (NZSC) radio interview.

 

'New Zealand Fire Service - Saving Face or Saving Lives?’
[NZSC: 3 of 5] David Isaac's response to NZFS undermining NZSC's warning about ionization alarms.

 

AFAC -  'Position on Smoke Alarms in Residential Accommodation'

AFAC and the IAFF's official positions state ionization alarms "may not operate in time" in smoldering fires.

 

Consumer N.Z. (CNZ) Research: Ionization Smoke Alarm Warning on National Australian TV
[CNZ: 1 of 4] CNZ publishes first smoke alarm report. All ionization alarms fail smoldering fire tests.

 

'Recommending, Selling or Installing Ionization Smoke Alarms, A Criminal Act of Negligence?'

The WFSF's C.A.N. Report explains life-safety and litigation concerns with ionization smoke alarms.

 

N.Z. Safety Council Report & Radio Interview: 'Renewed Calls for Banning Ionization Alarms'

[NZSC: 4 of 5] "The NZSC's position is that ionization alarms be banned from sale in New Zealand."

 

'Is the New Zealand Fire Service Responsible for Fire Deaths?'

WFSF Report - Co-Founder Karl Westwell explains NZFS's role in multiple fire deaths.

 

Consumer N.Z. (CNZ) Research: All Ionization Smoke Alarms Fail . . .  Again

[CNZ: 2 of 4] CNZ publishes second smoke alarm report. All ionization alarms fail smoldering fire tests.

WFSF Report: NZFS - Duty of Care Concerns

"This letter is to express concerns in relation to the New Zealand Fire Serviceʼs duty of care to warn. . ."

 

N.Z. Safety Council Talks to Retired U.S. Fire Chief, Marc McGinn

[NZSC: 5 of 5] Chief McGinn explains the first U.S. cities photoelectric-only legislation.

 

Paul Baxter Appointed Chief Executive & National Commander of the New Zealand Fire Service

Mr Baxter headed up the NZFS from Jan 2012 until March 2017.

 

Consumer N.Z. (CNZ) Research: Housing NZ Corporation's (HNZC) Smoke Alarms Fail
[CNZ: 3 of 4] CNZ publishes third smoke alarm report. All ionization alarms fail smoldering fire tests.

 

60 Minutes Special Investigation | 'The Alarming Truth'  | Ionization Smoke Alarm Exposé
Australasia's worst house fire. 'The Alarming Truth' about the smoke alarms in most New Zealand homes.

 

WFSF Warns HNZC about Ionization Alarms

"The ionization type of smoke alarm in most New Zealand homes has been proven. . ."

 

Bessie Tokona (61) and Eunice Felton (6) Perish in HNZC Home Fitted with Ionization Alarms
Tokona/Felton Tragedy | Palmerston North, New Zealand.

 

FPA Australia Testimony: Ionization Smoke Alarms are Not Fit For Purpose

FPA Australia testifies at Australian Senate Smoke Alarm Inquiry.

 

New Zealand | The World's First, Nationwide, Photoelectric Legislation

Residential Tenancies Act mandates photoelectric smoke alarms in New Zealand rental homes.

 

Why did the NZFS Misprepresent the Facts About Smoke Alarms at Tokona Coroinal Inquest?

NZFS blames manufacturer; claims it was unaware ionization alarms were fitted in over 64,000 state homes.

 

Consumer N.Z. (CNZ) Research: Ionization Smoke Alarm Warning on Radio N.Z. National

[CNZ: 4 of 4] CNZ publishes fourth smoke alarm report. All ionization alarms fail smoldering fire tests.

 

2020 - A New Era in Home Safety: New U.S. Smoke Alarm Standard Supersedes Flawed Standard

World's largest testing company releases new smoke alarm standard with legitimate smoldering fire tests.

"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."

"The only thing necessary..

for the triumph of evil is..

that good men do nothing."

Albert Einstein

Edmund Bourke

1997 November

In November 1997 Adrian Butler & Karl Westwell launched Maximum Fire & Safety (MFS) a division of their Maximum Security franchise that was founded in 1993. MFS sold and installed thousands of ionization smoke alarms throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Smoke Alarms Failed

However, they soon discovered a serious life-threatening safety problem. Consumers complained that whilst their smoke alarms would go off when cooking, they would often fail to operate in the early, smoldering stage of fires.

Maximum Fire
& Safety launch
featured in the
'Franchise New Zealand' magazine.

November 1997

'Franchise New Zealand' Report

In their report the IAFC warned lives were at risk with ionization alarms. It said it could take no other course but to recommend photoelectric smoke alarms because:

". . .most ionization detectors will not
respond quickly to a slow, smoldering fire. . ."

Fire Chiefs 1980 Warning

After extensive research, Butler & Westwell discovered that U.S. Fire Protection Engineer, Mr Richard Patton, had been running a campaign to warn about ionization alarms since the mid 70's and that the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) had warned about ionization alarms in 1980.

'Residential Smoke Alarm Report'

International Association of
Fire Chief's
report warning
about ionization
smoke alarms.

September 1980

In the Beginning. . .

After selling thousands of ionization smoke alarms,

Butler & Westwell discover a life-threatening problem.

2000 January

'Silent Alarms' - Award-Winning Canadian Documentary
'Silent Alarms' reveals shocking truth about ionization alarms in
 landmark lawsuit. Butler & Westwell start campaigning to warn the public.

7:49   "A smoke detector that sounds approximately nineteen
           minutes after smoke reached its sensing chamber is like an

           airbag that does not deploy until nineteen minutes after a car accident."

Judge David E Schoenthaler | Mercer vs BRK | Iowa,U.S.A. | April 1998

WFSF Co-Founders, Adrian Butler (left) & Karl Westell (right)
in Waihi, New Zealand during filming of the World Fire Safety
Foundation's documentary, 'Stop The Children Burning'

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

After the New Zealand Fire Service refused to accept the overwhelming evidence about the life-threatening safety issue with ionization smoke alarms, Butler and Westwell decide to make their own documentary.

STOP THE CHILDREN BURNING

WFSF Documentary | First Released Oct 2004 | Version 3.2 Updated: Dec 2011 | 47 minutes

WFSF Documentary
Stop The Children Burning

The story behind the Waihi and Smithton tragedies
where seven people died (including five children)
in house fires fitted with 'working' ionization alarms.

Endorsed by:

 

New Zealand Safety Council

Presented by:

Ian Johnstone

 Former TVNZ Crimewatch Presenter

Note:
In 2006 the 'International Crusade

Against Fire Deaths' changed its

name to the World Fire Safety Foundation

Richard Patton FPE
ACA, 'Smoke Alarms' | Oct 2004

Richard Patton FPE
Fire Protection Engineer

2:09  "The ionization alarm.
       is a piece of junk."

'A Current Affair' - Presented by Ray Martin

David Isaac appeared on the
program to give an industry
perspective. Seven months later he wrote to the Fire Service:

David Isaac

FPA Australia

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

Damien Killalea

Director Community Safety

Tasmania Fire Service

Tasmanian Testing
After the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) watched 'Stop The Children Burning' they
did their own smoke alarms testing. All ionization alarms failed the smoldering fire
test. The TFS's Damien Killalea was a member of the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC), the peak representative body for all Australian
and all New Zealand Fire Brigades. After the Tasmanian testing he took the issue to AFAC.

AFAC's Metastudy
AFAC commissioned a metastudy (a study of existing global research) on ionization vs photoelectric smoke alarms.  Nineteen months later, on 1 June 2016, AFAC released its
'Position on Smoke Alarms' vindicating the WFSF's stand.

[NZSC: 1 of 5]

WFSF Documentary Launch:

'Stop The Children Burning' -  Australia
STCB on National Australian TV

2004 October

2005 February

WFSF Documentary - 'Stop The Children Burning'
'Close Up' Story on National New Zealand TV

"...we had no idea there were two types (of smoke alarms) ... why haven't we been told?"

TVNZ Presenter Susan Wood | See 'NZFS - Saving Face or Saving Lives?' letter below | Page 3, Paragraph 6

Susan Wood, Presenter, TVNZ

0:19 "But even if smoke alarms had been fitted, there are fresh..
claims that they may not have saved the wee girl's life."

Susan Wood, TVNZ Presenter | 'Close Up' | 22 Feb 2005

2:30 "The problem stems right back to the fact..

that the standards themselves are faulty."

Adrian Butler, Chairman, WFSF | 'Close Up' | 22 Feb 2005

4:13 "These (photoelectric alarms) are proven more effective at
           detecting smoke from the slow burning fires that often kill."

Bryan Seymour, TVNZ Journalist | 'Close Up' | 22 Feb 2005

Bryan Seymour, Journalist, TVNZ

Adrian Butler, Chairman, WFSF

Note: This video is currently unable to be shown due to Copyright issues.

Mr David Calvert, Founder of the New Zealand Safety Council is one of the most highly
qualified safety professionals in New Zealand. On 9 May 2006 he gave a radio interview
to warn the public about the life-threatening safety issues with ionization smoke alarms.

 

This is the response from the New Zealand Fire Service. . .

2006 May 9

Subject:  May 9, 2006. Media Release.

 

New Zealand Fire Service Position

on Ionisation vs Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Debate

 

Media release from Dr Paula Beever, National Director Fire Risk Management, in response to a radio item this morning:

May 9, 2006

 

Working smoke alarms better than no smoke alarms, says Fire Service

 

The debate has been raised this week about what types of smoke alarms should be installed in homes.

 

The Fire Service says people should not lose faith in smoke alarms.

 

Working smoke alarms are far better than no smoke alarms at all.

 

"In most fatal fires in New Zealand no smoke alarms were installed, and most fires in this country begin in the kitchen; hot flaming fires well up to the ionisation smoke alarms most commonly used in this country,"

says fire engineer Dr Paula Beever.

 

Dr Beever is a world recognised authority in fire engineering and runs the Fire Service's risk management arm.

 

She says that each year since 2002, 1,000 house fires have been successfully detected by smoke alarms, and two-thirds of these fires controlled without any damage to the house.

 

"Smoke alarms do save lives.  All of them give people sufficient warning time to get everyone out - that is why we always advise people to get smoke alarms installed and practice your escape plans".

 

She says a consortium of Australasian fire authorities, including New Zealand, has commissioned research into smoke alarms and the results are due to be released shortly.

 

"We will adopt the findings as soon as they are available"

 

Paula says fire safety is not just about smoke alarms which are, at the end of the day, the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

 

"We are always urging people to stop fires happening in the first place.

There are three causes of fires - men, women and children.  For instance one of our main messages is "keep looking while you're cooking".

 

Contact:

Dr Paula Beever

(cell number withheld)

[NZSC: 2 of 5]

N.Z. Fire Service Media Release
Undermines N.Z. Safety Council's Warning

2006 May 25

[NZSC: 3 of 5]

'New Zealand Fire Service - Saving Face or Saving Lives?'

Report sent to the New Zealand Fire Service's (NZFS) Dr Paula
Beever after her 9 May 2006 Press Release (above) undermined the warning
about ionization smoke alarms by Zealand Safety Council's CEO, Mr David Calvert

"In failing to provide appropriate information to the public, you have
ignored statistical information available from comprehensive international
data which paints a very different picture to that of your media release."

Mr David Isaac, fire industry expert,  | Page 1, Paragraph 5

"The failure of the New Zealand Fire Service to provide proper
  advice on smoke alarms appears entrenched within the Fire Service."

Mr David Isaac, fire industry expert,  | Page 2, Paragraph 5

"We recommend people use them (ionization alarms)
and we do not intend to move away from that advice."

Gary Talbot, NZFS Fire Safety Integration Officer | Page 3, Paragraph 1

"...we had no idea there were two types (of smoke alarms) ... why haven't we been told?"

Susan Wood, TVNZ Presenter  | Page 3, Paragraph 6

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World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

 NZFS's "world recognized authority", Dr Paula Beever, claimed in her 9 May 2006 official Media Release:

"Smoke alarms do save lives. All of them give people sufficient warning time to get everyone out." (page 6, para 9)

 

However, Dr Beever was wrong as evidenced by AFAC's official position
which was released just three weeks later - Clause 3 states:

"Ionization smoke alarms (the type in most New Zealand homes) may not
operate in time to alert occupants early enough to escape from smoldering fires."

 

Dr Beever also claimed in her media Release:

"We will adopt the findings (AFAC's findings - see below) as soon as they are available" (page 6, para 9)

The NZFS Claimed it Would Adopt AFAC's Findings:
"...as soon as they are available."

Critical Question

Since 1 June 2006, has the NZFS ever warned the New Zealand public
about the life-threatening safety issue with ionization smoke alarms? i.e. that they

"may not operate in time to alert occupants early enough to escape from smoldering fires."

IAFF Official Position on Smoke Alarms | August 2008

 

"WHEREAS, there are two principle types of smoke alarms that are intended to alert occupants of building fires: ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms. Ionization smoke alarms predominantly detect the presence of extremely small particles of smoke – often invisible – typical of flaming fires, while photoelectric smoke alarms predominantly detect larger smoke particles – always visible – typical conditions found at smoldering fires; and

 

WHEREAS, research indicates that both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are intended to provide occupants time to escape. However, ionization smoke alarms may not operate in time to alert occupants early enough to escape from smoldering fires (emphasis added - exact same wording as AFAC's official position above); and

 

WHEREAS, current research indicates that ionization smoke alarms detect flaming fires marginally earlier than photoelectric smoke. However, ionization smoke alarms are far more prone to nuisance alarms increasing the probability that they will be disabled by building occupants; and

 

WHEREAS, photoelectric smoke alarms detect smoldering fires and fires starting in areas remote from smoke alarms significantly earlier than ionization smoke alarms; and

 

WHEREAS, dual alarms, also called combination alarms, that contain both technologies are available but the benefit over photoelectric in the response to fires is marginal. They are more costly, and they will experience the same nuisance problem as ionization smoke alarms; and

 

WHEREAS, as many fires in residential occupancies begin as smoldering fires, particularly when occupants are sleeping, photoelectric smoke alarms provide more effective all-around detection and alarm than ionization alarms; and

 

WHEREAS, failure to detect a fire and provide an early alarm places building occupants at risk from an ever-escalating fire; and

 

WHEREAS, such escalating fires place the lives of firefighters responding to an increasing risk from such an escalating fire; and

 

WHEREAS, the increase in the use of photoelectric technology has the potential to save hundreds of lives each year and should be promoted as the technology of choice by members of the IAFF in their homes; and

 

WHEREAS, IAFF members should advocate for their mandatory requirement for placement and use of photoelectric alarms in fire and building codes, in a manner similar to recent legislation in Vermont and Massachusetts. . ."

2008 IAFF Convention | Resolution Number 15 | August 2008 | Pages 1-2

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

"Once a landlord, fire official, building owner, real estate agent or any official becomes
aware of the fact that ionization smoke alarms are not
Fit For Purpose . . . Failure to warn
 in these circumstances may lead to litigation in the event of death, injury or loss of property."

Adrian Butler, Chairman, WFSF | Queensland, Australia | March 2007

International Association of Firefighters (IAFF)
The IAFF is the official union representing over 300,000 U.S. and Canadian firefighters. In August 2008,
the IAFF published a Resolution taking the same official position as AFAC, i.e. that
"ionization smoke
alarms may not operate in time to alert occupants early enough to escape from smoldering fires."


This following extract from the IAFF's official position is a must-read for all fire service personnel:

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2006 June 1

AFAC - 'Position on Smoke Alarms
 in Residential Accommodation'

AFAC's Official Position on Smoke Alarms

The Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) is the peak representative body for all Australasian fire
 brigades. There are over 50,000 full-time and volunteer firefighters throughout Australia and New Zealand

"That all residential accommodation be fitted with photoelectric
  smoke alarms . . . Ionization smoke alarms may not operate in time
  to alert occupants early enough to escape from smoldering fires."

  'Position on Smoke Alarms...' | AFAC | 1 June 2006 | Page 3, Clause 3

2006 June 6

[CNZ: 1 of 4]

Consumer N.Z. (CNZ) Research: Ionization
 Smoke Alarm Warning on National Australian TV

CNZ publishes first smoke alarm report.

0:24  ". . .the vast majority of us have the wrong type of smoke alarm fitted in our homes."
Tracy Grimshaw | Presenter, A Current Affair | NSW, Australia | 6 June 2006.

3.41 " A larger scale study of twenty one alarms conducted by New Zealand's Consumer's Institute showed.
the same disturbing results. Both types of alarms picked up blazing fires quickly, but when it came to
.
 smoldering fires, some ionization alarms took up to ten minutes to go off, and some did not go off at all."
Elise Mooney | Reporter, A Current Affair | NSW, Australia | 6 June 2006.

In Testing Commissioned by Consumer New Zealand
Ionization Alarms Failed to Pass Critical Smoldering Fires Tests

Consumer New Zealand's Smoke Alarm Research
2006      |      2010      |      2014      |      2018

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"I mean, you buy a smoke alarm, you expect it to go off."
Corinne Ambler, Senior Reporter, TVNZ | The C.A.N. Report | Feb 2007, page 9, para 6

"In the smoldering fire tests the photoelectric alarms provided sufficient early warning. However the
 ionization alarms failed the same smoldering fire tests resulting in the following dialog between Corinne
 Ambler of TVNZ and Bill Whitley of the N.Z. Consumer's Institute, that was aired on prime time TV:"

  Corinne Ambler:  "That's pretty shocking though isn't it?"

          Bill Whitley:   "It is - it's a big worry."

  Corinne Ambler: "I mean, you buy a smoke alarm, you expect it to go off."

          Bill Whitley:   "Precisely - and it may not."

The WFSF's C.A.N. Report explains life-threatening safety, and litigation concerns with ionization alarms.

 

10 hard-copies of the report were distributed to senior New Zealand Fire Service management
(see recipients list on page 16)

 

The report is a must-read for all fire fighters, fire officials, media and ionization smoke alarm attorneys.

World Fire Safety Foundation Report:

'Recommending, selling or installing ionization
smoke alarms, a Criminal Act of Negligence?'

The C.A.N. Report

2007 February

2008 July-August

[NZSC: 4 of 5]

New Zealand Safety Council
'Smoke Alarm Report' & Radio Interview:
'Renewed Calls for Banning Ionization Alarms'

In Memory of Freda Birch

"The New Zealand Safety Council's position is that ionization smoke alarms be banned. . ."

David Calvert, CEO, NZSC | 'NZSC Smoke Alarm Report' | July 2008 | Page 1, Para 1

"The New Zealand Safety Council is critical of the Leadership of the New Zealand Fire Service..
 in failing to properly promote photoelectric alarms in accordance with AFAC's official position."

David Calvert, CEO, NZSC | 'NZSC Smoke Alarm Report' | July 2008 | Page 6, Para 5

David Calvert

Electrical Engineer, Registered
Safety Professional, Former CEO

& Fellow N.Z. Safety Council

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2008 August 9

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V1.3 | .49MB

‘Renewed Calls for Banning Ionization Smoke Alarms’

Radio New Zealand National Interview:

Consumer N.Z.  |  N.Z. Fire Service  |  N.Z. Safety Council  |  Radio N.Z.

0:15   "The New Zealand Safety Council . . . ‘Smoke Alarm Report’ says Freda’s unit had three ionization smoke alarms
            fitted by the Fire Service and more of the same have been put into her neighbours homes following her death."

                                                                                    Tim Graham, Presenter, Radio National New Zealand | 9 August 2008

1:03  "The ordinary firefighter has been kept in the dark because their senior management hasn't told them."
                                                                    
David Calvert, Founder, CEO, New Zealand Safety Council | 9 August 2008

2:12  "...as long as they have working smoke alarms they’ve done what they can to protect themselves and their families."
                                             
  Scott Sargentina, Corporate Communications Manager, New Zealand Fire Service | 9 August 2008

Press 'Play' button above   |    Download MP3  (1.4MB)

'Safety Council Calls
for Improved Alarms'

"Nobody should die in such circumstances and, with..

 properly fitted photoelectric smoke alarms, they would not."

David Calvert, N.Z. Safety Council | PressReader.com | 9 August 2008

"...they (ionization alarms) will still provide a good early-warning system."

New Zealand Fire Service | PressReader.com | 9 August 2008

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

     Feb 2006: TVNZ 'Close Up' program airs nationally with WFSF's warning about ionization alarms.

  Early 2006: All ionization alarms failed smoldering fire tests commissioned by New Zealand Consumer.

27 May 2006: 'Saving Face or Saving Lives?' letter warning about ionization alarms sent to N.Z. Fire Service.
1 June 2006: AFAC's official position stated: - Ionization alarms may not operate in time for occupants to escape, and

                                                                         - "That all residential accommodation be fitted with photoelectric alarms."
1 June 2008: Freda Birch dies in home fitted with ionization alarms which were installed by the NZFS.

   June 2008: NZSC CEO David Calvert warns ionization alarms should be banned from sale in New Zealand.

  9 Aug 2008: NZFS: - keeps defending ionization alarms in the media claiming they're, "a good early warning system."

                                   - states, "any smoke alarm is better than none."

                                   - reinstalled ionization smoke alarms back into the unit block where Freda Birch died (see page 1)

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"Questions are being asked about the New Zealand Fire Service’s role in
 the deaths of Lynette Chapman, who died in a home fire in January 2009,
 and Freda Birch, who died due to a fire in her pensioner flat in June 2008."

Karl Westwell, WFSF | 'Is the NZFS Responsible For Fire Deaths?' | Feb 09 - Page 1, Para 1

"Failing to warn us of the known limitations of the ionization smoke alarm is not a ‘neutral
act’; it is an act that denies people their right to make an informed decision, it is an act that
prevents people from doing what is necessary to protect their homes and their families."

Karl Westwell, WFSF | 'Is the NZFS Responsible For Fire Deaths?' | Feb 09 - Page 8, Para 2

World Fire Safety Foundation Report
by Karl Westwell, Co-Founder

2009 February

'Is the New Zealand Fire Service

Responsible for Fire Deaths?'

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

"Writing an article that confronts the fire service head on for what some might call its complacency
 – and others its negligence – is not something that has not been done without a great deal of trepidation."

Karl Westwell, WFSF | 'Is the NZFS Responsible For Fire Deaths?' | Feb 09 - Page 9, Para 2

2010 March

[CNZ: 2 of 4]

Consumer N.Z. (CNZ) Research: All Ionization
 Smoke Alarms Fail Smoldering Fire Tests . . . Again
CNZ publishes second smoke alarm report.

"The ionization models were slightly better on average at detecting
  flaming fires, but were hopeless for smoldering fires.
Many of them
  didn't sound at all . . . That failing is potentially fatal."
(emphasis added)

                                Consumer New Zealand | March 2010

Consumer N.Z.'s Scientific Smoke Alarm Research Test Results
Research - Conducted by the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ)

                        Funded by N.Z. Government's Accident Compensation Commission (ACC)

MORE > > >

Consumer New Zealand's Smoke Alarm Research
2006      |      2010      |      2014      |      2018

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2010 August

NZFS - Duty of Care Concerns

World Fire Safety Foundation Report

"I note with disappointment that the NZFS is STILL failing to
 consistently promote photoelectric smoke alarms in the media."

"...should those responsible for the failure to warn the public and
    NZFS firefighters be held liable in the event of injuries or deaths..."

"This information is being provided to you in good faith in the hope
 that the New Zealand Fire Service begins to adequately warn the
 public about the life-threatening danger of ionization smoke alarms..."

Adrian Butler, Chairman, WFSF letter to NZFS | 4 Aug 10 | page 1, para 5

Adrian Butler, Chairman, WFSF letter to NZFS | 4 Aug 10 | page 2, para 3

Adrian Butler, Chairman, WFSF letter to NZFS | 4 Aug 10 | page 3, para 3

[NZSC: 5 of 5]

N.Z. Safety Council Talks to

Retired U.S. Fire Chief Marc McGinn

Part 1 9 minutes - 48 seconds

Part 2 9 minutes - 58 seconds

"I call for the immediate removal of the fraudulent, deadly, ionization so-called smoke alarm..
from all stores and homes in America before more people are needlessly maimed and killed."

Chief McGinn's closing statement | First Reading, Albany's Smoke Alarm Ordinance | Albany, CA, USA | 6 July 2010

Paul Baxter | Chief Executive & National
Commander New Zealand Fire Service. . .

. . .before being appointed
Commissioner, Fire & Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW) | Australia

Mr Paul Baxter headed up the New Zealand Fire Service from Jan 2012 to March 2017.
In 2016 the NZFS misled a Coronial Inquest while under the leadership of Commander Baxter.

In April 2017, after moving to Australia, Mr Baxter took command of FRNSW.

In May 2017, under Commissioner Baxter's leadership, the stand taken by former
FRNSW Commissioner, Greg Mullins, to to ban ionization smoke alarms was reversed.

1/12 - 3/17

4/17 - Current

 Paul Baxter

National Commander NZFS:

Commissioner FRNSW:

2012 Jan

[CNZ: 3 of 4]

Consumer N.Z. (CNZ) Research: Housing N.Z.

Corporation (and all other) Ionization Smoke Alarms Fail
CNZ publishes third smoke alarm report.

Consumer N.Z. Ionization Alarm Research Results

Ionization Alarms Used by N.Z. Government Fail Smoldering Fire Tests
Over 250,000 Universal Security Instrument's MDS300L 'Modified Ionization'
smoke alarms installed in over 65,000 Housing N.Z. Corporation state homes
receive the same score as all
ionization alarms tested: '0 out of 10'.

Extract: Consumer New Zealand Smoke Alarm Research Report | June 2014, page 2

Extract: Consumer N.Z.'s 'Silent Death' Smoke Alarm Research Report

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REPORT

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Consumer New Zealand's Smoke Alarm Research
2006      |      2010      |      2014      |      2018

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

- Consumer New Zealand's third smoke alarm research report was published in June 2014.

- Universal Security Instrument's (USI) 'modified ionization' (IoPhic) alarm failed the smoldering test scoring 0 out of 10.

- More than 250,000 of USI's 'IoPhic' alarms were purchased by HNZC after they sought advice from the N.Z. Fire Service.

- What did the Fire Service and HNZC do to warn the public/HNZC's tenants after the release of Consumer N.Z.'s report?

- After two people died in a HNZC home in October 2015 (18 months after the publication of the report), the NZFS testified
  at the Coronial Inquest that they thought the 'modified ionization' alarms were a combination ionization/photoelectric alarm.

- How did Consumer New Zealand know they were a 'modified ionization' alarm but not the Fire Service? (see below)

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

Industry Politics - Wasting Time and Risking More Lives

"It soon became clear that they (the Fire Service) actually did want
to help but were frightened and concerned at the industry politics
involved in this issue and the ramifications for them if they spoke
out - industry politics which are wasting time and risking more lives."

Rebecca Le Tourneau, Producer, 60 Minutes | Submission to the

Australian Senate Smoke Alarm Inquiry | 28 Aug 2015 | page 2, para 8

Rebecca Le Tourneau

Producer, 60 Minutes

Read/Download 60 Minutes Submission

HERE > > >

60 Minutes Submission

to Australian Senate Inquiry

The WFSF worked closely with Rebecca Le Tourneau providing technical assistance, video footage and by rebutting fire service and fire industry misinformation. After almost all fire brigades refused to help the Foundation organized to have the testing done in the U.S. However, at the midnight hour, the Northern Territory Fire Service agreed to help.

 

IMPORTANT - Read 60 Minutes Submission to the Australian Senate Smoke Alarm Inquiry | 28 August 2015

60 MINUTES

'THE ALARMING TRUTH'

“Why the smoke alarm in your home won't save you.”

Producer: Rebecca Le Tourneau | Aired: Australia 19 Oct 2014 - New Zealand 10 Nov 2014

THE ALARMING TRUTH - Trailer  | 30 Seconds

THE ALARMING TRUTH - Part One  | 8 Minutes

 

0:29  "As our special investigation reveals, Australia's (and New Zealand's) most
          popular fire alarm, the one that's likely fitted in your home, is unlikely to save you."
Karl Stefanovic | 60 Minutes Reporter | The Alarming Truth | 10 Nov 2014

THE ALARMING TRUTH - Part Two  | 10 Minutes

0:05  "But what I've just seen is shocking - a house
                           billowing with smoke and the fire alarm failing to go off."

Karl Stefanovic | 60 Minutes Reporter | The Alarming Truth | 10 Nov 2014

EXTRA MINUTES | Frustration with Authorities Failure to Warn | 2 Minutes

0:36  "And the average consumer thinks he’s safe . . .
              Not if he’s relying on an ionization smoke alarm..."

David Isaac | Australia's Leading Fire Safety Expert | The Alarming Truth | 10 Nov 2014

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TRANSCRIPT

.54 MB

2014 November 10

2014 November 25

WFSF Warns HNZC about Ionization Alarms

"The ionization type of smoke alarm in most New Zealand homes has
been proven by Australian government (CSIRO) and Consumer New
Zealand scientific testing (by BRANZ), to have life-threatening defects."

Adrian Butler, Chairman, WFSF in message sent to HNZC | 25 Nov 2014

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TRANSCRIPT

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World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

Consumer New Zealand

In CNZ's June 2014 'Silent Death' report the ionization alarms fitted in over 65,000 state homes across New Zealand failed the smoldering fire tests. Read the explanation of the importance of smoke alarms detecting fire in the early, smoldering stage.

 

Consumer New Zealand has been testing smoke alarm for over a decade. All ionization alarms have
failed all smoldering fire tests in all four series of tests (the 2014 tests are the tests referred to here).


                                                             
  Consumer New Zealand Smoke Alarm Research
                                  
2006     |     2010     |     2014     |     2018

Coronial Inquest

Why did the NZFS misrepresent the facts about smoke alarms at the Tokona/Felton Coronial Inquest?

Fatal Palmerston North Fire: Bodies Believed
to be Grandmother and 6-Year-Old Girl Removed

". . .McKay said they had received word there were active smoke alarms in the house."

Kelsey Wilkie, Kirsty Lawrence and Tom Hunt | Manawatu Standard | 3 Sept 2015

Bessie Tokona (61) and Eunice  Felton (6) Perish in Housing
N.Z. Corporation Home Fitted with Ionization Smoke Alarms

Tokona/Felton Tragedy | Palmerston North, New Zealand

Ionization Smoke Alarm Victims

Bessie Tokona (61) and her granddaughter Eunice Felton (6)

2015 September 3

Fire Protection Association Australia Testimony:
'Ionization Smoke Alarms are Not Fit For Purpose'

FPA Australia's Testimony at Australian Senate Smoke Alarm Inquiry

2015 December 4

MORE > > >

"Again, it (the ionization alarm) is not fit for purpose."

Chris Orr, Technical Director, FPAA | Australian Senate Inquiry
Canberra, Australia | 4 Dec 2015 | Hansard - Page 14, Para 3

"If I get an alert, I get woken up and I want to find my way to

 the exit, I have got to be able to see the exit. At 50 to 60%

 obscuration, if an ion did go off, then you are not going to
 see it. Again, it is not fit for purpose."

Mr Chris Orr, Technical Director

Fire Protection Association Australia

Products Not Fit For Purpose:
Litigation and Life-Safety Concerns

Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) is the national peak body for fire safety, providing information, services and education to the fire protection industry and the community.

2016 July 1

Changes to the N.Z. Residential Tenancies Act for Smoke Alarms

New Zealand - World's First, Nationwide,
Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Legislation

New Zealand Government Advice:

DOWNLOAD
CLICK HERE

(PDF 1.1Megs)

Residential Tenancies Act 1986

From 1 July 2016 All New Smoke Alarms In All New Zealand Rental Homes Must:

  • Be photoelectric,
  • Have a battery life of at least eight years, or be hard-wired,
  • Be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and
  • Meet international standards.

Note: Failure to Comply is an Unlawful Act and Could Result in a Financial Penalty of up to $4,000

Information extracted from the New Zealand Government's Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website  4 August 2019:

www.tenancy.govt.nz/maintenance-and-inspections/smoke-alarms

2016 October 5

Why did the NZFS Misrepresent
the Facts About Smoke Alarms at
the Tokona/Felton Coronial Inquest?

Palmerston North, New Zealand | 5 October 2016

"It is possible that if the alarms had been photoelectric rather than ionization

alarms that they may have sounded earlier and whenau may have responded earlier

and had that happened Bessie and Eunice may have been able to make their escape."

Tokona/Felton Coronial Inquest | Reserved Decision of Coroner Tim Scott | Page 8, Para 3 | 19 Dec 2016

After two tenants died in a Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) state home in September 2015, a Coronial Inquest was held in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

 

HNZC had relied on Fire & Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) advice before installing ionization smoke alarms in most of its 69,000 state houses. FENZ's official position on smoke alarms since
1 June 2006 was to recommend the installation
of photoelectric smoke alarms. HNZC's ionization smoke alarms cost New Zealand tax payers approximately five million dollars.

World Fire Safety Foundation Chairman, Adrian Butler testified at the Coronial Inquest as an expert witness. He advised the Coroner that the smoke alarms installed in HNZC homes did not have a photoelectric sensor despite repeated claims by the N.Z. Fire Service that they were combination ionization/photoelectric alarms.

Butler's evidence, the user manual downloaded from the Internet, established that they were 'modified' ionization alarms, i.e. the same MDS300L alarms that failed Consumer New Zealand's smoldering fire tests in June 2014.

Documents/Evidence

The NZFS claimed they believed that the ionization smoke alarms in the Tokona's state home were combination ionization/photoelectric alarms. Given Consumer New Zealand knew, is it reasonable to assume that the Fire Service should have known? What does the evidence reveal?

 

After the Coronial Inquest, once the Fire Service had to acknowledge the wrong alarms had been installed in over 64,000 state houses, what steps did they take to warn the public that they had allegedly been misled? Given HNZC replaced approximately$5,000,000 worth of ionization alarms half way through their ten year service life, what steps (if any) were taken to hold the manufacturer accountable?

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

Housing N.Z. Corporation sought the NZFS's advice before they installed 'IoPhic' smoke alarms in over 60,000 state homes across New Zealand. The NZFS's official position since June 2006 is that all homes be fitted with photoelectric alarms. The MDS300L model IoPhic alarms are made by Universal Security Instruments (USI). They are an ionization smoke alarm. USI's marketing claims IoPhic alarms have the benefits of a photoelectric alarm, however, the operation manual clearly states it is an ionization alarm, i.e. it does not have a photoelectric sensor. The MDS300L 'IoPhic alarm failed Consumer N.Z. smoldering fire testing in June 2014 which is consistent with it NOT having a photoelectric sensor. Consumer NZ listed it as a 'modified ionization' alarm 15 months before the Tokona/Felton fire deaths.

 

NZFS Misleads Coroner

After a request by the Tokona family, the WFSF Chairman went to N.Z. to testify at the Coronial Inquest. Two days before the Inquest the Coroner received a 58 page report from the New Zealand Fire Service. The report falsely claimed the 'IoPhic' smoke alarms in Bessie Tokona's state house were a combination ionization/photoelectric alarm, i.e. that they had photoelectric sensors.


WFSF Almost Blocked from Testifying

The day before the Inquest, the Coroner advised he no longer wanted the WFSF to testify as he preferred the evidence of the NZFS. The NZFS's Statement, the Coroner's Memo and the WFSF's Response which resulted in the WFSF being allowed to testify, and consequently prove that the NZFS claim about the alarm type was false, are HERE > > >

[CNZ: 4 of 4]

Consumer New Zealand (CNZ) Research: Ionization
Smoke Alarm Warning on Radio New Zealand National

CNZ publishes fourth smoke alarm report.

'Why You Need to Avoid Ionization Alarms'

Extract: Consumer N.Z.'s Fourth Smoke Alarm Research Report

FREE* ONLINE

Consumer New Zealand's
Fourth Research Report. . .

 

CLICK HERE

 

*Funded by the Ministry of
Business, Innovation
and Employment


(see below)

Consumer New Zealand's Smoke Alarm Research
2006      |      2010      |      2014      |      2018

2018 May 5

Smoke Alarms - The Safest and the Best

Press 'Play' button above   |    Download MP3  (12MB)

Interview: Radio New Zealand
National with Consumer N.Z.'s
Head of Testing, Dr Paul Smith

0:32  "Photoelectric in a nutshell is the technology that you
          want to go for and ionization is the one you want to avoid."
                      
Dr Paul Smith, Head of Testing | Consumer New Zealand

0:39  "OK, so photoelectric gets the green light, ionization gets the

          red light . . . Why is one so good and the other one is so bad?"
  
            Simon Morton, Presenter, Producer | Radio New Zealand National

Dr Paul Smith

Head of Testing

Consumer New Zealand

Simon Morton

Presenter, Producer

Radio N.Z. National

New Zealand Government Advice | Media Reports

2018 May 16

"Consumer New Zealand Warns about Ionization Smoke Alarms"

More > > >

"Fire and Emergency New Zealand Recommends People Only
  Install Photoelectric Smoke Alarms"

More > > >

2018 May 16

"Consumer New Zealand Calling for Ionization

 Smoke Alarms to be Pulled from Shelves"

More > > >

2018 May 16

"Are You Safe? Smoke Alarms 'So Poor they Shouldn't be Sold'"

More > > >

2018 June 16

"Consumer Watchdog Calling for Ionization Smoke Alarms to be
  Pulled from Shelves Due to Slow Detection of Smoke"

More > > >

2018 June 19

“Removing a product that doesn’t perform a critical safety
 task effectively is a major win for New Zealand consumers,
 ” Dr Smith said."

More > > >

2018 May 5

World Fire Safety Foundation Comments:

IMPORTANT

What Consumer New Zealand Said:
"We think Ionization alarms should not be sold and are working with retailers to remove them from their shelves."

"Photoelectric in a nutshell is the technology that you want to go for and ionization is the one you want to avoid."

What the NZFS's National Adviser on Fire Risk Management Said:

"We do not believe that ionization alarms are unsafe, as any working
smoke alarms will provide some degree of early warning." (emphasis added)

What Does the Science Say?:

In all four series of Consumer New Zealand's scientific tests, all ionization smoke alarms failed to
operate in the early, smoldering stage of fires. They did not provide any degree of early warning.
The official position on smoke alarms of all Australian and all New Zealand fire brigades states:



"Ionization smoke alarms may not operate in time to alert
    occupants early enough to escape from smoldering fires."

  AFAC 'Position on Smoke Alarms in Residential Accommodation' | 1 June 2006

 

"The Fire Service Should Tell the Public the Truth.
Ionization Smoke Alarms are a Dangerous, Deadly Device."

 

                                                               MORE > > >

2020 May 29

2020 - A New Era in Home Safety:

New U.S. Smoke Alarm Standard

Supersedes Old, Flawed Standard

Smoke Alarms Get Smarter in 2020

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is the world's largest standards testing organization.


UL certification is accepted in New Zealand. From 29 May 2020, to be 'UL Certified',
all smoke alarms must pass UL's new, legitimate smoldering fire test - unlike the old, flawed standard which allowed ionization alarms to be certified -
see below.

 

However, the existing ionization smoke alarms in most New Zealand homes and  millions of homes around the world, many of which are 'UL Certified' under the old, flawed standard, may continue to fail to operate in time to alert occupants early enough to escape from smoldering fires.

 

The public needs to know the truth; that ionization smoke alarms are not safe and that their families' lives are at risk.

More > > >

World Fire Safety Foundation Comment:

The Forty Year Battle to Correct Flawed Smoke Alarm Standards

1976 - Richard Patton distributes report, 'The Smoke Detector Fraud' warning about flawed US standard, to 0ver 3,000 fire chiefs.

1999 - Washington Post publishes, award-winning, ionization smoke alarm exposé, 'How Safe Are Products Bearing the UL Mark?'
2005 - Feb: WFSF Warning on TV New Zealand: "...the standards themselves are faulty."

2005 - Oct: WFSF Chairman's Letters to UL warning that their UL217 smoke alarm standard is flawed:

Letters Warning UL about their Flawed Smoke Alarm Standard
Note: Letters Sent from WFSF's Production Company - MC2E Productions

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UL LETTERS

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2010 - UL's flawed smoke alarm standard used by Richard Patton in testimony for first US cities photoelectric-only legislation

2011 - UL Sued: UL settles out of court after allegations that it was "wanton or negligent" by modifying the smoldering fire test.

2013 - WFSF Report: 'Can Australian and U.S. Smoke Alarm Standards be Trusted?'

2016 - New Zealand introduces world's first, nationwide, photoelectric smoke alarm legislation

Thank You. . .

for checking out the campaign behind
New Zealand's photoelectric legislation.

 

We started in New Zealand, however, most of
 our work's been done in Australia and the U.S.

 

Because we don't solicit or accept donations,
we rely on you, the public, to help spread the word.

. . .Please Help, Because Together, We Can


Stop The Children Burning

"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."

Albert Einstein

"Ignorance, allied with..
power, is the most.. ferocious enemy..
 justice can have."

James A Baldwin

"The only thing..

necessary for the.. triumph of evil is that..

good men do nothing."

Edmund Burke