The World Fire Safety Foundation
THE CHRISTMAS 11 TRAGEDIES:  QLD, AUSTRALIA  |  S.C. Daily Articles: 2 of 6

Firies critical of older alarms

Patrick Williams | 30th December 2011

CHANGE your smoke alarm. Don't just check it.

That is the message of the World Fire Safety Foundation in the wake of the tragic Boxing Day fire that claimed the lives of four members of the Golinski family at Tewantin.

The foundation is pushing Australians to ditch their current smoke alarms in favour of a photoelectric type that has a better track record than ionisation smoke alarms.

Former firefighter and foundation chairman Adrian Butler estimated 95% of Australian homes were fitted with ionisation alarms.

"Even the new homes are being built and having them put in," Mr Butler said.

"No one wants to admit there is a problem with the ionisation ones."

It is also the official position of Queensland Fire and Rescue Service "that all residential accommodation be fitted with photoelectric smoke alarms".

Research has shown that photoelectric alarms give earlier warnings of smouldering fires than any other kind of alarm.

Neighbours who witnessed the Boxing Day blaze said they heard a smoke alarm at the time of the fire, but it has yet to be confirmed what type of smoke alarm was inside the Jacaranda Pl home.

Police investigators said the alarm may have been "fried" if it was in the same room the devastating fire ignited.

"The circumstances surrounding this fatal blaze are the subject of a coronial investigation and report," a police spokeswoman said.

"We are unable to comment further."

Noosa fire station officer Brian Riley said ionisation alarms were still for sale because they "complied with safety standards".

"People see them on the shelves in the hardware store or supermarkets and think they're doing the right thing ... without doing research," he said.

Mr Riley said photoelectric alarms were more efficient in picking up elements of combustion while ionisation alarms had limitations if a fire developed quickly.

Extracted, Sunshine Coast Daily website, 01 January, 2012:

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has over 300,000 members.
The IAFF is the world’s largest Fire Fighter’s Union.
What do they say about changing smoke alarms from ionization to photoelectric?

Using better (photoelectric) smoke alarms will drastically

reduce the loss of life among citizens and fire fighters.


Harold A Schaitberger
General President, International Association
of FireFighters (over 300,000 members)

Harold A Schaitberger, General President

International Association of Fire Fighters, NY, U.S.A.  29 Oct, 2008

What is the Position of the International Association of Fire Fighters?

What is the Position of Australian & New Zealand Authorities?


DECORATIVE lights on a natural pine Christmas tree may have started the fire that killed Matt Golinski's wife and daughters and left the celebrity chef fighting for his life.

Investigations will examine whether the Christmas lights or candles caused the fatal fire, which is believed to have started in the lounge room of the home.

It is understood at least one witness told police they heard a smoke alarm at the time of the fire about 3.30am on Monday.

However, the alarm may have been "fried" if it was in the same room where the devastating fire ignited.

Yesterday, the Sunshine Coast's criminal investigation bureau chief Daren Edwards said investigators believed the blaze was not suspicious.

"We believe that the fire ... has possibly started accidentally within the house,"Detective Senior Sergeant Edwards said.

Detectives have started interviewing family members of Mr Golinski and his wife Rachel, who celebrated Christmas Day at the Tewantin home.

"Both sides of the family were there in the day and in the night," Snr Sgt Edwards said.

"That's what makes it so much worse.

"Scientific officers and the fire service investigators will continue going through and at least eliminating various possibilities."

Extracted, Sunshine Coast Daily website, 07 January, 2012:

Tree lights may have sparked blaze

Kieran Campbell | 28th December 2011

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