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In 2014 60 Minutes in Australia covered a story about the dangers of ionization alarms. The 2 part story can be viewed at link below. The CBS 60 Minutes here in U.S. has since been contacted to do a follow up story but has yet to respond.
http://www.9news.com.au/national/2014/10/19/21/35/the-alarming-truth-australias-worst-house-fire The documentary Stop The Children Burning to the right is the most informative video about the dangers of these type alarms .
These news story videos above and statistics below contain absolute proof of the dangerous and deadly effects from ionization alarms that were in an estimated 90% of U.S. homes according to some sources. In the U.S. alone over last 40 years, at least 250,000 severe fire injuries and 50,000 fire related deaths have occurred due to these often deadly devices failing to provide early warning for safe evacuation. This statistic is a very conservative estimate due to inefficient smoke alarm record reporting over last 40 years .
Considering the U.S. population is less than 5% of the 7.29+ billion people around the world with over , 2000 smoke alarm suppliers in China alone distributing both ionization and photoelectric alarms to the global market, applying the approximate 90% ionization usage in U.S. statistic to entire world that have smoke alarms seems logical due to the cost is less for these dangerous ionization devices and most consumers are unaware of the dangers and opt to buy the less expensive alarms assuming a smoke alarm is a smoke alarm which should detect smoke and protect their families from harm.
Based on other statistics, approximately half the population of the world likely have smoke alarms in the homes, apartments, condos and other habitable structures they live in and approximately half the worlds population living in poverty do not have any smoke alarms at all. As of July 1st 2016 there were approximately 3,424,971,237 internet users and growing worldwide. There are approximately 1.59 billion households with televisions. It seems logical that most those able to afford internet and TV would be able to afford smoke alarms.
That said the vast majority worldwide, approximately well over 95% of those that do have smoke alarms, likely do not know ionization alarms are a danger to their family, friends and relatives. Of the over 6500 people I have personally told face to face that did have smoke alarms, only about 30 people (less than1%) were aware of the dangers of ionization alarms and had replaced them with photoelectric smoke alarms. I can only hope the other 99% replaced their alarms and told everyone they know about the dangers as well. The petition on the home page has gained over 5300 signatures, and I have posted the link to the petition on over 2500 face book friends pages some of whom shared it with their friends and relatives or was seen by friends visiting their page.
Since Nov 2015 when I became webmaster for firecrusade.com and then changed the name to
smokealarmsafety.org on Aug 31st 2016, close to 13,000 page views have visited the sites as of Oct 1st with about 2/3rds of the web traffic coming from face book users. Why then did the petition not have far more signatures ? I suspect, the reason is due to apathy and many people think it will not happen to them and some perhaps did not even replace their ion alarms as well, despite all the evidence presented. Many of these viewers have lived their whole lives without a serious fire incident as of yet, and statistically there is a 1 in 4 chance in their lifetime they will have a fire that would need to be reported. It is this apathy and mindset that makes this effort to ban ionization alarms critical, because billions of lives are at risk and many of those people will not do what is needed or can not afford to pay for smoke alarms.
When the cost of treating burn victims is taken into consideration, over $10 billion a year in U.S. alone, especially to those living in poverty which accounts for approximately 3.5 billion people that can not afford smoke alarms or health insurance, it would save the government funded health care plans billions every year if they were to subsidize photoelectric / heat alarms for lower income housing. Several insurance companies offer a discount to home owner policies when monitored smoke alarms are included to the burglar alarm system because they know it reduces the cost of damages because most all home security companies only market photoelectric / heat alarms.
Ongoing market research to obtain the most accurate numbers on percentage of ionization alarms in homes worldwide has proven difficult due to smoke alarm manufacturers and suppliers unwillingness to provide sales information. The approximate 90% number above likely has decreased to some extent in U.S. over the years as more people have become aware of the dangers of ionization alarms from news stories like those on this page. In countries where the corruption within the NFPA, UL and manufactures has less of a stranglehold than in U.S. and there is more competition and far more photoelectric and photoelectric / heat combo smoke alarms offered for sale, fire death rates seem to suggest the ionization problem is not as widespread in China ranked 140, 33rd lowest with only a 0.61 fire death rate per 100,000 people lower than U.S. ranked 133, 40th lowest with a 0.75 death rate with a population of less than 1/4 of China' s 1,395,998,000 people.
That said, the dangers of ionization alarms still exists on a global scale and the world wide fire death rate statistics shown below, of the 3 Countries that have banned ionization alarms, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland, now have among the lowest fire death rates of the 172 countries surveyed.
In 2004, nearly 11 million people worldwide were burned severely enough to require medical attention.
An estimated 265 000 deaths every year are caused by burns. ( UPDATE: as of Aug 2017 the fire death rate according to WHO statistics has been adjusted to 180,000 but no update to number of 2004 burn injuries of 11 million ) This could be due to improved medical treatment of burn injuries since 2004 .
Burns occur mainly in the home and workplace. Community surveys in Bangladesh and Ethiopia show that 80–90% of burns occur at home. Source World Health Organization
Based on the stats above there were approximately, 11,000,000 x 40 = 440,000,000 fire burn injuries and 265,000 x 40 = 10,600,000 deaths worldwide over the last 40 years on average. Of the 3 Countries that have prohibited ionization alarms due to the radioactive element in them, Switzerland ranked 169 and has the 4th lowest fire death rate at 0.17 per 100,000 , Netherlands ranked 170 - 3rd lowest at .014 and Luxembourg ranked 172 - lowest at 0.10 . The 2 Countries with Not For Sale Regulations, Cyprus ranked 165 - 8th lowest at 0.22 per 100,000 and Lithuania ranked 96, 79th lowest - at 1.87 deaths per 100,000.
The wide gap between Cypress and Lithuania likely is due to heating homes during cold winters in Lithuania, lack of enforcement of the sales restriction and other factors such as building material used and building fire codes etc Vs. subtropical weather found on Island of Cyprus requiring little to no need for home heating which can be a source of home fires, portable space heaters in particular. Malta another subtropical Island ranked 171, 2nd lowest, does not have a ban or restriction on sale of ionization alarms, but like Cyprus has little to no need of home heating during winter. Number 1 ranked Nigeria, without any regulations, is at a staggering 21.13 deaths per 100,000 with 42 other countries in the HIGH Red Zone, 39 of which are in Africa. Poverty likely is the main reason for the higher death rates in those countries where most people can not afford smoke alarms and building codes are far less strict.
Clearly the Countries that have banned ionization alarms by far have the lowest fire fatalities worldwide and make the case for an international ban by the United Nations on the sale of ionization alarms for use in all habitable structures around the world. Source WorldLifeExpectancy.com
See NFPA statistics for U.S."Ninety-six percent of all homes in the United States have at least one smoke alarm" (with an estimated 90% being ionization alarms according to North East Ohio Fire Prevention Association approximate estimate ). According to graph on the NFPA page, even the fires where 53% of smoke detectors were operational accounted for 40% of the fire deaths which suggests the alarms did not sound warning siren early enough for safe evacuation. As the videos on this page reveal it is because an ionization smoke alarm is technologically incapable of detecting smoldering smoke which is the most likely fire scenario to occur while people are sleeping.
The NFPA statistics are an eye opener as they suggest that almost 2/3rds of deaths from home fires are from ionization smoke detectors that failed to sound alarm either because batteries were removed due to nuisance alarms from cooking, as ionized alarms do sound alarm from small ionized particles from over cooked food and shower steam, or the alarms failed to detect the thicker smoldering smoke / fire entirely.
According to more National Fire Protection Association - NFPA statistics " smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms." All of these statistics and graph shown in 1st NFPA link combined, clearly show that in 60% of fires that attributed to 63% of fire deaths, were due to failure of ionization alarms to warn occupants in time or not at all.
NOTE: NFPA graph is clearly inaccurate regarding "no smoke alarms present" at 27% and attributing to of 37% fire deaths when other NFPA statistics below are taken into consideration and the fact according to their own survey 96% of homes had at least one smoke alarm.The link SMOKE ALARMS IN U.S. HOME FIRES FACT SHEET just below the NFPA graph reveals, "Reasons that smoke alarms did not operate In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, Almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms. Dead batteries caused one-quarter (24%) of the smoke alarm failures. Only 7% of the failures were due to hardwired power source problems, including disconnected smoke alarms, power outages, and power shut-offs. These statistics are not only conflicting but they clearly show ionization alarms do not warn people in time for safe evacuation when they do operate and have a very high rate of users disconnecting the batteries due to nuisance alarms.
According to NFPA own statistics, Chances are that you will have a home fire in your lifetime. In fact, the chances of having a fire large enough to be reported to the fire department are 1 in 4.
Here are some other statistics included in the report:
Number of home fires your household can expect in an average lifetime: 5
Chances that someone in your household will suffer a fire injury in an average lifetime: 1 in 10
Chances that someone in your household will suffer an injury in a reported fire in an average lifetime: 1 in 89
Possible Reasons for this inaccurate data
1) The data was entered incorrectly and or grossly exaggerated with above percentages needing to be readjusted and entered for "smoke alarms present but did not operate" and the 8% fires and 23% fire deaths number readjusted and applied to "No smoke alarm present" column.
2) Misreporting by several U.S. fire departments of "no smoke alarms present" numbers, as it would be an anomaly for only 4% of homes without a smoke alarm, per NFPA 96% of homes having at least one smoke alarm, to account for 27% of fires and 37% of fire deaths. Even 8% of fires causing 23% of fire deaths would be an anomaly as it would suggest that the 4% ( actual number according to survey) of homes without smoke alarms would of had an average of 2 fires or more between 2007 - 2011, the chances of which defies the laws of probability and do not make sense when the other NFPA statistics are considered.
3) The NFPA continues to protect the ionization alarm monopoly the manufacturers have established over last 50 years by any means possible . Despite recommending use of both photoelectric and ionization alarms, even though
there are fixed temperature and Rate of Rise sensors available that do not have the nuisance alarm problem that
ionization alarms have, the NFPA fails to reveal the length of time gap between the ionization vs photoelectric activation time in a smoldering smoke condition and continue to state that either technology will provide the required time for evacuation, when in fact they know the average time for an ionization alarm to activate is 30 minutes slower in a smoldering smoke condition and can result in smoke inhalation deaths or severe burn injuries.
Click link and listen to the 2nd recording by Chris Dubay VP of Codes & Standards for the NFPA bottom right of page.
Ironically, the author that provided the 1 in 4 chance of having a fire statistics goes on to say" What if you knew that fire sprinkler systems, required in all model codes for new one- and two-family homes could wipe out your chances of suffering a fire injury in our lifetime? "
Over the 20 years before FPE Richard Patton exposed the fraud of ionization smoke alarms in 1976, he had exposed the corruption and fraud within the Fire Insurance companies who set up the NFPA in 1896 to write the Fire Codes, so they could control what fire safety products would and would not be sold for home and business use. Together these agencies kept fire sprinklers out of U.S. homes for over 114 years despite Richard and others effort to fight for fire sprinkler use in homes for 60 years. It took over 93 years for a bill to be passed requiring fire sprinklers for Hotels and Motels. It was not until 1990 the US Congress passed PL-101-391, better known as "The Hotel and Motel Safety Act (of 1990)". This law requires that any hotel, meeting hall, or similar institution that receives federal funds (i.e. for a government traveler's overnight stay, or a conference, etc.), must meet fire and other safety requirements. The most visible of these conditions is the implementation of sprinklers. In part, and again thanks to Richards long battles and exposing the corruption within NFPA and other co-conspirators, In 2011, Pennsylvania and California became the first US states to require sprinkler systems in all new residential construction, but due to pressure from fire sprinkler opponents Pennsylvania reversed its position. Currently only California, Maryland and D.C. have Fire Sprinkler codes requiring sprinklers in new residential structures.
All these facts and NFPA own statistics, leads us to the conclusion, this misreporting of "no smoke alarm present" numbers was likely due in large part to the fraud and co-conspiracy of NFPA, UL and manufacturers, as well as, many fire departments that had at first been duped by the false advertising of the ionization manufactures early on and still are in bed with the ionization alarm manufactures who still discount and or donate these dangerous devices for installation in lower income housing. This fraud of course led to the installation of dangerous ionization alarms in 10's of 1000's of low income homes by many fire departments, American Red Cross and United Way and ultimately many fire deaths and injuries over several decades and the covering up of the negligent homicide to avoid liability for installing inefficient ionization alarms that were proven to fail in smoldering smoke conditions, which most all of them became aware of since 1976 to present.
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