Open Letter to:

The Home Depot

The World Fire Safety Foundation (WFSF)

Will the Sm ke Alarms in Your home Save You?




Cover/Contents (this page) Why is the WFSF Warning About Ionization Alarms? The Home Depot Open Letter
A self-funded Non Profit Organization founded in March, 2000. We do not sell anything. We do not solicit or accept donations.

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NFPA & UTC (Kidde) Letter News Release: Home Depot Promo Open Letters - TV Campaign

© The World Fire Safety Foundation

October, 2012

SmokeAlarmWarning-THD-06Nov12.pdf | Updated: 06 Nov, 2012 - Check for Latest Update:


“Why is the WFSF Warning about Ionization Alarms?”
(answer at bottom of page)

First Official Warning - Sept, 1980: WA R N I N G : Ionization Alarms Unsafe!
In September, 1980 after thousands of people had been injured or killed in house fires, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) warned the ionization type of smoke alarm in most U.S. homes were not safe and “lives were at risk”. Their ‘Residential Smoke Alarm Report’ urged Fire Chiefs to ONLY recommend photoelectric alarms and warned against combination ionization/photoelectric alarms: Tragically the IAFC’s warning went unheeded - for the next 32 years . . .

IAFC’s 1980 Report

16 Years Later - May, 1996: WA R N I N G : Ionization Alarms Unsafe!


Kelly Halligan: “There was smoke to that (ionization) detector but it just did not work.” Dr. B. Don Russell: “That’s where they (the manufacturers) make most of their.. money (selling ionization smoke alarms) and they’re just going to.. keep doing the same thing until something compels them to change.”
Dr Russell

Barbara Walters

Dr B. Don Russell, Texas A&M University, ‘Smoke Alarms’, ABC - 20/20, 17 May, 1996 (Hear Dr Russell’s comments , 16 years later, in ‘Sounding The Alarm’ film - link below)

26 Years Later - June, 2006: WA R N I N G : Ionization Alarms Unsafe!
The Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) is the peak representative body of all Australian and New Zealand Fire Brigades. AFAC’s official position on smoke alarms states:

“Ionization smoke alarms may not operate in time to alert occupants early enough to escape from smouldering fires.”
AFAC ‘Position on Smoke Alarms in Residential Accomodation’ June, 2006, Page 3, Clause 3

AFAC’s 2006 Report

32 Years Later - Oct, 2012: WA R N I N G : Ionization Alarms Unsafe!


Brian Williams - NBC News Anchor/Editor: “...they may not deliver the warning needed to save lives.

Seasoned Fire Fighters Shocked
“If I would have relied on an ionization,. my family probably wouldn’t make it out.” Brian Williams 6pm NBC News

Brian Lien - Houston Fire Fighter:

Brian Lien Fire Fighter

ANSWER: “Because Many Fire Fighters STILL Don’t Know They’re Unsafe!”

(see TV Campaign page 16)

SmokeAlarmWarning-THD-06Nov12.pdf | Updated: 06 Nov, 2012 - Check for Latest Update:

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Australia: Saturday 06 Oct, 2012 USA: Friday 05 Oct, 2012

Attention: The Home Depot Corporate Office (by email and registered / certified mail) - Mr Frank Blake, CEO and Chairman - Home Depot Legal Department
(C/- Yvonne Young, Resolution Expeditor)

2455 Paces Ferry Rd / B-3 Atlanta, GA 30339 U.S.A. c.c. - Avni Patel, Producer, NBC 'Today Show', New York, NY, USA - Dean Dennis, Fathers For Fire Safety, Cincinnati, OH, USA - Penny Sanders, Taylor Martino, Mobile, AL, USA - David Isaac, Standards Australia Committee FP002, Australia Dear Mr Blake

Litigation Concerns:
Home Depot, Kidde (UTC) & NFPA 50,000 Ionization Smoke Alarm Promotion I am writing to you regarding serious life-safety concerns for your customers and a potentially litigious problems for Home Depot. The News Release on page 4 details the pending 50,000 ionization smoke alarm promotion with UTC (Kidde), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Home Depot. Yesterday morning, NBC's Today Show exposed nation-wide, the inherent, life-threatening defects with ionization smoke alarm technology: This story also aired nation-wide on NBC’s 6 o’clock news: The truth about ionization smoke alarms has been withheld from the public and our fire fighters for forty years. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have recently been sued for alleged fraudulent testing of the ionization alarms: Please examine the open letters recently sent to UTC (Kidde) by a member of the Australian Parliament about the ionization smoke alarms in his own home. UTC (Kidde) has failed to answer a critical performance question about their ionization alarms in smoldering fires: I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss this issue with you personally as there is a very simple solution and a fabulous opportunity here for The Home Depot. I requested to be put through to your Personal Assistant but your Resolution Expeditor, Ms Yvonne Young assured me this communication would be forwarded to your legal department; whom I am relying on to send it to you. Please feel free to call me directly on +61 409 782 166 or email me: Thank you. Sincerely,

Adrian Butler The World Fire Safety Foundation Chairman, Co Founder, Former Fire Fighter 45 Lakes Boulevard, Wooloweyah NSW 2464 AUSTRALIA +61 409 782 166
P.S. We are a self-funded, Non Profit Organization.

SmokeAlarmWarning-THD-06Nov12.pdf | Updated: 06 Nov, 2012 - Check for Latest Update:

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Tuesday, 02 October, 2012 - 6:41am (by email and registered / certified mail) Lorraine Carli - NFPA VP of Communications, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA, USA Heather Caldwell - UTC Marketing & Communications Manager, UTC Fire & Security 1016 Corporate Park Drive, Membane, NC, USA Dear Lorraine & Heather

Life Safety and Litigation Concerns: Home Depot / NFPA / UTC Ionization Smoke Alarm Promotion
Lorraine, thank you for your recent email and phone call. We are concerned about life-safety and legal issues regarding the pending donation (see page 2) of 50,000 ionization smoke alarms to U.S. Fire Departments. In May of this year, Captain Russell Ashe, formerly of the Barre City Fire Department, visited Australia to meet with a member of the Australian Parliament, Mr Chris Gulaptis. Captain Ashe was a driving force behind Vermont’s mandatory, photoelectric-only legislation that came into force on 01 January, 2009. Mr Gulaptis wrote to UTC on 23 April, 2012 requesting disclosure of the level of smoke the ionization smoke alarm in his home activated under Australia’s Smoke Alarm Standard. The President of UTC Australasia responded but failed to answer the question. He has failed to reply to Mr Gulaptis’s second disclosure request sent almost seven weeks ago. The smouldering fire testing of Standards Australia’s smoke alarm standard (AS3786-1993), is conducted by the CSIRO, an Australian Government agency. The CSIRO’s scientific testing proves unequivocally that ionization smoke alarms are dangerously defective and should never have been allowed to pass any global fire safety standards: The NFPA often cite the fact that ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms must pass identical tests to receive the Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) ‘seal of approval’. However, UL is currently being sued for allegedly “...failing to formulate and implement safety standards for ionization smoke alarms that require ionization smoke alarms to detect slow smoldering fires in a timely manner”: Here in Australia, given we have a legitimate Standards smouldering fire test for visible smoke, how are ionization ‘smoke’ alarms able to be approved for sale with the Australian Standard’s ‘seal of approval’? They do not have to pass the valid test for visible smoke - they only have to pass a test for sub-micron particles. However, ionization alarms are subjected to the test for visible smoke and it is a requirement of the Standard that the level of smoke is recorded and reported to the manufacturers. Therefore Kidde/UTC have empirical, documented evidence of the level of visible smoke all their ionization smoke alarms have activated at when tested to the Australian Smoke Alarm Standard (AS3786-1993). In the interests of public safety I strongly suggest you consider holding off with the promotion until the results are provided by UTC Australasia or donate ONLY photoelectric smoke alarms. Please examine the ‘UTC’s Failure to Disclose’ document containing all correspondence between Mr Gulaptis MP and UTC. The document and the links from it provide overwhelming evidence at to why ionization smoke alarms are unsafe: Please advise within the next 7 days what course of action the NFPA and UTC will be taking. Thank you. Sincerely,

Adrian Butler The World Fire Safety Foundation

Chairman, Co Founder, Former Fire Fighter

45 Lakes Boulevard, Wooloweyah, NSW 2464 AUSTRALIA P: +61 (0) 409 782 166 | W:

SmokeAlarmWarning-THD-06Nov12.pdf | Updated: 06 Nov, 2012 - Check for Latest Update:

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NFPA, The Home Depot and Kidde team up for fire safety Program to provide fire prevention education and 50k smoke alarms nation-wide September 25, 2012 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced today it is teaming up with The Home Depot and Kidde to help raise awareness of fire safety throughout October with nationwide in-store fire safety workshops for kids and adults. In addition, The Home Depot will donate 50,000 Kidde 10-year sealed lithium battery smoke alarms to local fire departments across the United States. Home Depot associates will be providing fire safety education through the month of October. In addition, a donation will be made to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s “Be a Hero, Save a Hero” initiative. “Nearly 20 percent of homes in the U.S. have smoke alarms that don’t work. This program will benefit thousands of families by providing long-life smoke alarms that offer maintenance-free protection for ten years. The recipients never need to remember to replace the battery because it’s sealed inside the unit, and will last the life of the alarm,” said Chris Rovenstine, marketing and sales manager for Kidde. “We read all the time about instances where children have escaped a fire or urged parents to check their smoke alarm batteries after learning these lessons at a community event,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “Partnering with The Home Depot and Kidde is a terrific way to reach hundreds of thousands of children and parents with life-saving information.” “Our associates all across the country are pleased to play a role in saving lives from fire by sharing information in a fun and entertaining way,” said Elizabeth Rogers, electrical merchant for The Home Depot. According to NFPA, the majority of fire deaths occur in homes where there are no smoke alarms or no working smoking alarms, mainly due to dead (aged) or missing batteries or age of alarm. NFPA recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years, but a recent industry survey finds more than a quarter of older homes – 17 million – need updated fire safety equipment. Following an associate challenge between stores, The Home Depot will distribute the 50,000 Kidde smoke alarms for installation in U.S. homes. The program also will remind families about having enough working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms throughout their home. NFPA recommends placing smoke alarms on each level and inside and outside of sleeping areas. CO alarms should be placed on each floor and near sleeping areas. Fire departments can get involved and learn more by contacting their local Home Depot store manager or visiting About The Home Depot The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,255 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China. In fiscal 2011, The Home Depot had sales of $70.4 billion and earnings of $3.9 billion. The company employs more than 300,000 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index. About Kidde As the world’s largest manufacturer of fire safety products, Kidde’s mission is to provide solutions that protect people and property from the effects of fire and its related hazards. For 95 years the military, aerospace and building industries have relied on Kidde to deliver superior fire detection and suppression. Consumers will find that same advanced technology in Kidde's residential and commercial smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and other life safety products. Based in Mebane, N.C., Kidde is part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. For more information, visit About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Visit NFPA’s website at for more information. Media Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275
Extracted from NFPA website, 29 Sept, 2012:

SmokeAlarmWarning-THD-06Nov12.pdf | Updated: 06 Nov, 2012 - Check for Latest Update:

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The World Fire Safety Foundation’s Open Letters and TV Campaigns

Open Letters
All Open Letters be will be published before the launch of the Foundation’s TV ads (see below)
Open Letters:
(already published)

(this document)

United Technologies Corp. - Australia The Home Depot
Open Letters:
(pending publication)

12 Aug, 12 05 Oct, 12
Date Due

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission Australian Building Codes Board Australian Governor General Australian Ministers of Emergency Services Fire Protection Association of Australia International Association of Fire Chiefs International Association of Fire Fighters United Technology Corp. - USA

01 Dec, 12 01 Dec, 12 01 Dec, 12 01 Dec, 12 01 Dec, 12 01 Dec, 12 01 Dec, 12 01 Dec, 12

TV Ads
Launch Dates: Australia: 01 Dec, 2012 | U.S.A.: 24 Jan, 2013
Ad 1: ‘Serious Problem’ Ad 2: ‘IAFF Warning’ Ad 3: ‘Radioactive Disposal’

SmokeAlarmWarning-THD-06Nov12.pdf | Updated: 06 Nov, 2012 - Check for Latest Update: 6 of 6

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