Cr Luke Smith and Louie Naumovski are calling on State government to change legislation and make photoelectric smoke alarms compulsory. Photo Contributed
Cr Luke Smith and Louie Naumovski are calling on State government to change legislation and make photoelectric smoke alarms compulsory. Photo Contributed Contributed

Smoke alarm concerns after three children die in fires

THIS year alone, Logan has mourned the loss of three community members to house fires, two of whom were under the age of four.

In each case the houses had ionisation alarms and they failed to activate.

The Beenleigh unit fire that claimed the lives of mother and son Crystal and Baileigh Cartledge in August this year also left Crystal's five-year-old son permanently disabled with severe brain damage, loss of sight and only 10% hearing.

In August 2011, the city was home to the greatest loss of life in a domestic fire in Australian history. Eleven people lost their lives in a house fire in Slacks Creek.

After the 2011 tragedy, Logan man Louie Naumovski was driven to act, and together with his wife Christine Richards, founded the Logan House Fire Support Network (LHFSN).

Since its establishment, the LHFSN has been fighting to have legislation introduced to make photoelectric alarms compulsory.

After the inquest into the deadly Slacks Creek blaze, coroner James McDougall made this very recommendation.

Eight months later, the State Government is yet to act on this.

On Tuesday, Councillor Luke Smith took up the crusade to see legislation changed and photoelectric alarms installed into every building and residence throughout the city.

"The Coroner's report highlights that every 4.7 hours a house goes up in flames in Queensland," Cr Smith said.

"The report goes on to state that an approved smoke alarm means a photoelectric type alarm that complies with Australian Standard AS 3786.

"135 fires and three deaths in our city this year alone is too many.

"If no other Government will listen to this damning evidence then it falls to us to act."

Cr Smith has called on Logan City Council to get the ball rolling to become the first city in Queensland to take this matter seriously and implement the coroner's recommendations.

"There are two types of smoke alarms on the market today: Ionisation and Photoelectric," Cr Smith said.

"Current legislation simply requires that all new homes are built with a working alarm and home owners and builders can choose either alarm to comply with the legislative code.

"According to Australia's leading fire safety expert David Isaac, the USA have been highlighting that there is a clear difference between the two since 1976 and in Australia this has been a key focus of research since 1993.

"Fire service has known that the Ionisation smoke alarms have failed Australian standards since 1993."

Mr Naumovski said he supported the move by Cr Smith in attempting to change the current legislation.


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