Station Officer Matthew Phillips says QFRS strongly recommends the photoelectric smoke alarms.
Station Officer Matthew Phillips says QFRS strongly recommends the photoelectric smoke alarms. Renee Pilcher

Wake up to best smoke detector

WHAT type of smoke detectors do you have in your home?

It’s the time of year when Gympie region residents are reminded to check their smoke alarms are working.

But a recent documentary by Queensland film maker Peter Enright, which screened recently on the Sunshine Coast, warned relying on ionisation smoke alarms could be a deadly mistake.

Stop the Children Burning tells the stories of three families who relied on ionisation smoke alarms with tragic results.

The work of Queensland film maker Peter Enright, the documentary claims that “fraud and corruption… has led to millions of people around the world installing the wrong type of smoke alarm in the mistaken belief that they are protected from fire”.

Gympie Fire Station Officer Matthew Phillips said while both photoelectric and ionisation alarms are effective at detecting smoke, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) strongly recommends the photoelectric smoke alarms, which are readily available from most retail outlets. He agreed that many people might not be aware that there is a difference in how the devices detect smoke.

Photoelectric devices “see” the smoke, while ionisation devices “feel or smell” the smoke.

While ionisation smoke alarms are good at detecting flaming fires, it is often the insidious smouldering fire at 2am that results in domestic house fire fatalities.

Research has shown that photoelectric smoke alarms typically respond to smoky fires within a few minutes while the level of smoke is still low and the air breathable.

Officer Phillips said this essentially gives people more time to escape safely.

He added that there was very little difference in cost between the two types of alarms.

Smoke alarms are mandatory in all Queensland homes.

If you would like help to recognise fire hazards in and around your home, you can call Safehome and book a visit by a QFRS firefighter who will assist you to make your environment as safe as possible. Phone 1300 369 003.

Gympie Times


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