The World Fire Safety Foundation
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)
The Third Open Letter about the ABCB - 13 April, 2010
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ABCB’s Third ‘Open Letter’

Standards Australia’s acknowledgement of flawed testing raises
issues of Scientific Misconduct in relation to standards testing of
ionization smoke alarms globally.

Karl Westwell, WFSF CEO and Co-Founder, April, 2010

Karl Westwell
WFSF CEO, Co-Founder

The ‘Third Open Letter about the ABCB’

13 April, 2010


26 Jan, 2010  |  The second ABCB Open Letter:  Here > > >
13 Apr, 2010  |  The third ABCB Open Letter below:

29 Apr, 2010  |  The ABCB - Freedom of Information Act Application:  Here > > >
22 Apr, 2009  |  The series of email messages to the ABCB:  Here > > > 
16 Jun, 2009  | The first ABCB Open Letter:  Here > > >

Over 95% of smoke alarms sold to the residential market are the ionization type as opposed to the photoelectric/optical type.  Hundreds of millions of ionization smoke alarms have been sold globally.

In April 2004, because ionization alarms do not safely detect life-threatening smouldering fires, the Australian Smoke Alarm Standard AS1670.1 - 2004, was amended to specifically mandate photoelectrtic smoke alarms in all sleeping areas and exit paths in new commercial buildings to which the standard applies.

In February 2006, Standards Australia discovered that a deadly loophole existed in Australian Standard AS3786-1993 - Smoke Alarms.

In August 2008, Standards Australia corrected the flawed Standard and published a draft Australian Smoke Alarm Standard.  By eliminating the flawed testing they formally acknowledged that ‘Scientific Misconduct
(i.e. fraudulent scientific research/testing) may have been committed in relation to standards testing of ionization smoke alarms globally.

Despite numerous attempts to have the corrected Standard adopted into legislation, the correction to Australia’s flawed smoke alarm standard has not been ratified by the Australian Government.

Since 1997 smoke alarms utilising either ionization or photoelectric technology have been mandatory in all new Australian homes.  On 01 June, 2006 all Australian and New Zealand Fire Brigades formally acknowledged that ALL homes should be fitted with photoelectric smoke alarms. Since this change of position, Australian Government legislation was passed in several Australian States mandating smoke alarms in ALL homes, not just new homes.

The public at large have not been informed of the Fire Brigades’ official change of position.  At the time of writing, April, 2010:

  1. most Australians and New Zealanders still have ionization
    smoke alarms in their homes,

  2. most Australians and New Zealanders are unaware of the
    Fire Brigades’ official position,

  3. most new homes (Class 1, 1a and 2 buildings) are still
    being fitted with ionization smoke alarms.

It has been alleged that allowing deadly smoke alarms to be certified as safe, when they are not, has led to tens of thousands of deaths world-wide.

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