New Zealand Fire Service - Saving Face or Saving Lives?
May 2006
The World Fire Safety Foundation
Problems viewing this page? Click  Here > > >sorry.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0

Download:  Here > > >

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

May, 2006

This report was sent to the New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) by Standards Australia’s Fire Protection Committee FP002
member,  Mr David Isaac.  The report addresses concerns about the NZFS’s duty of care to warn the New Zealand public
about ionization smoke alarms.  Mr Isaac states:

   “I have long held the view that persons in positions of significant public influence appear to underestimate the
    ‘weight’ of their comments. In so doing they often neglect their public responsibilities and duty of care obligations
    to provide proper information to the public to allow the public to make informed decisions on cost and safety.”

The report contains a May 2006 New Zealand Fire Service Press Release which stated:

1) "Smoke alarms do save lives. All of them give people sufficient warning time to get everyone out”,

     Mr Isaac commented: “This second statement is totally untrue, lacks integrity and demonstrates a lack of technical
knowledge on the performance limitations and application of detection technology . . . More importantly the
      statement misrepresents the truth to the New Zealand public..”

2) “...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"

     (see AFAC’s official Position Statement published 01 June, 2006, two weeks after the NZFS press release)

     (see the New Zealand Safety Council’s ‘Smoke Alarm Report’ in memory of Freda Birch)


The New Zealand Fire Service failed to respond.

David Isaac
Member Standards Australia Fire
Protection Committee FP2

Position on Smoke Alarms

The New Zealand Fire Service continues to fail to warn the New Zealand public that the ionization type of smoke alarms installed in almost every New Zealand home are dangerously defective despite:

  1. a) Australian Governments scientific test data, dating back to 1993, which shows a ‘Deadly Loophole’ in the Smoke
        Alarm Standard that has allowed ionization smoke alarms to be ‘certified as safe’ when they are not. 
    More > > >
    b) The declaration by US Federal court judges that ionization alarms are “defectively designed” and their failure is a
         “a legal cause of deaths”  (
    Hackert v BRK, March 2008).

    The Foundation’s position is that ionization smoke alarms are indefensible; that people should lose faith in them;
    that rather than defending them, Fire Brigades globally have a duty of care to warn the public about them and to
    actively promote stand-alone photoelectric smoke alarms, and other safe, affordable, available alternatives.

Scroll to see all six pages

“The Fire Service says people should not lose faith in smoke alarms.
  ‘Working Smoke Alarms’ are far better than no smoke alarms.” 
To All New Zealand Fire Service Executive Management
“It’s Time to tell the New Zealand Public and your Fire Fighters the Truth.”
Listen to the World Fire Safety Foundation’s New Zealand Radio Interview:  Here > > >
New Zealanders SHOULD lose faith in their ‘ionization’ type smoke alarms
and  immediately replace them with photoelectric smoke alarms.

New Zealand Fire Services Media Release, 09 May 2006

New Zealand Fire Service
Saving Face or Saving Lives?

"In the end, we will remember not the words..
of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Martin Luther King Jr