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Richard Patton, Fire Protection Engineer
From the late 1800s fire sprinkler systems were installed in large industrial buildings and were specifically designed to protect property, not people.  These early systems were designed to flood an area with large amounts of water in the event of a fire. The cost of installing these high water volume sprinkler systems and the water damage caused by them was excessive.
In 1972 Patton’s hydraulic engineering expertise enabled him to develop a modernised sprinkler system. His innovative 'Life Safety Sprinkler System' greatly reduced water demands cutting sprinkler costs from 50% to 90%.  His system was the first sprinkler system designed to protect life in buildings.
Patton's Life Safety Sprinkler System was written into a 'Code' and was adopted by building code authorities (A 'Code' in the US is the same as a ‘Standard’ in most other countries). This Code opened the door to economical sprinkler systems for high rise buildings, hospitals, hotels, and schools, places of assembly and other buildings where protecting life was paramount.
Patton was nominated by McGraw Hill, for the ‘Engineer of the Year' Award'.  Nominees for the McGraw Hill award are selected on a world wide basis.
"I would like to say that we invented the concept (a residential fire sprinkler system) but we
didn't.  Instead, we borrowed it from a gentleman by the name of Richard M. Patton."
Ronny J. Coleman, California State Fire Marshal and Former President, Int. Association of Fire Chiefs
Patton chaired four separate committees that developed fire detection and alarm systems codes for commercial and heavy industrial buildings.
In the early 60s ionisation ‘smoke’ detectors were first introduced and some manufacturers exaggerated the devices capabilities with claims like: ‘Operating on the ionisation principal, Smokeguard - senses danger - sounds a warning – gives you time to react - before you can even see it or smell it’. (read: ‘The False Security Blanket’). In 1966 Patton developed the world’s first code for residential fire detection systems.
Patton became concerned when his code was dramatically changed and manufacturers made false claims and used deceptive marketing practices to sell the new detector.  Manufacturers were able to convince fire-fighters to help them sell the new detector to the public.  In the first 10 years, millions of families were ‘protected’, despite the fact that there had been no official government testing of the device. In 1974, approximately ten years after manufacturers had been selling the ionization detector, the US Government funded the ‘Dunes Tests’ to assess the effectiveness of domestic fire detection devices.
The test program took two years. Researchers from the ‘Dunes Tests’ produced two complex reports consisting of over 400 pages and including over 100 graphs and tables.  Item One of the Dunes Tests Reports ‘Conclusions’ stated: ”A residential smoke detector of either the ionization or the photoelectric type… would provide adequate life saving potential under most residential fire conditions when properly installed.” Patton spent several months doing an in-depth analysis of the data ‘buried’ within the Dunes Tests. His analysis of these tests is at: Patton’s analysis establishes the fact that the ionization detector, based on the Government’s own data buried within the Dunes Tests, are inherently defective.
Patton knew he must alert the public to the problems of the ionization detector. His ‘Crusade Against Fire Deaths’ began in 1976 when he distributed 3,000 ‘Smoke Alarm Fraud’ reports to Fire Chiefs and Fire Engineers across the US, exposing the fallacious results of the Dunes Tests. Since 1976 he has produced over 1,000 documents in his attempt to expose the fire industry. His determination to alert the public to this and other fire industry problems has resulted in him testifying before committees of The House of Representatives, The Federal Trade Commission and The Senate.
In March 2003, in Waihi New Zealand, 5 people died, including two children who were sleeping over in a house fire ‘protected’ by ionization smoke alarms. In April 2004, in Scotchtown Tasmania, Australia, four children, including two children from separate families that were sleeping over, died in another house fire ‘protected’ by ionization smoke alarms. Patton’s 30 year Crusade Against Fire Deaths inspired the Australasian documentary ‘STOP THE Children BURNING.’
In March 2004 Patton visited Australia to met documentary filmmaker Peter Enright. In the documentary Patton says: “The corruption that began in the United States has now been exported throughout the world.” Patton returned to Australia in September 2004 and met with surviving victims of the Waihi and Scotchtown tragedies at the Tasmanian launch of the film. Stories about 'Stop The Children Burning were broadcast on prime time Australian and New Zealand TV (see picture).
With his new web-site and the release of the documentary, and 'Smoke Alarm Disclosure' website, Patton is now working with a global team of campaigners who are helping him take his message directly to the Mums and Dads.  Patton beleives this new global strategy will 'STOP THE CHILDREN BURNING'.
Richard Patton, F.P.E.

© The Crusade Against Fire Deaths Inc - 2005