14th December 2004 Mr R Poole, M.P.

PO Box 996 Nerang Qld 4211

C

PY O

AUSTRALIA
(Head Office)

Dear Mr Poole RE: 'A Review of Fire Safety Arrangements in Queensland' I am writing in relation to the discussion document above. I believe this document should be amended and resubmitted to the public. There are two types of smoke alarms. Over 95% of Australian homes with alarms have the 'ionization' as opposed to the 'photoelectric' type of alarm/s. Ionisation alarms are radioactive, have a high false alarm rate, and have been scientifically proven to be defective at detecting slow smouldering fires - the type that often kill. Photoelectric alarms are not radioactive, have a low false alarm rate, and are effective at detecting slow smouldering fires. Accordingly, the new Australian Standard (AS1670.1 29/04/04), mandates that photoelectric, NOT ionisation alarms, MUST be installed in ALL sleeping areas and in ALL exit ways in ALL new commercial buildings. I have enclosed a Queensland Fire Service brochure 'Working Smoke Alarms Can Save Lives'. This brochure lists, under 'Types of Smoke Alarms,' both types of smoke alarms i.e. ionization and photoelectric. The brochure also explains under 'Power Supply Options' that both the ionization and the photoelectric type of alarm can be powered by either hard wiring to the mains or by battery. On page four of the discussion document (enclosed), under the heading 'Types of Alarms' there is a false/misleading disclosure in relation to the types of smoke alarms; i.e. photoelectric and ionization. The discussion paper has confused types of alarms with the power supply option. By omitting any reference to the two types of alarms, i.e. photoelectric and ionization, the debate about the relative merits of the ionization vs photoelectric alarms is effectively buried/hidden from the public. I currently live in a new home with mandatory, hard wired, ionization smoke alarms. Every time I burn the toast my ionization alarm goes off - the battery operated photoelectric alarm I have installed right next to it does not. Herein lies the problem. When ionization detectors false alarm, which is frequently, the public are lulled into a false sense of security - they think that their alarm is going to save them in a real fire. It is this inherent fault in the ionization device that leads the public to falsely believe these alarms are effective! The problem is that ionization alarms (they were initially developed to detect poisonous gases) false alarm frequently when they detect cooking gases, steam from the shower and particles from burnt toast. Unfortunately these alarms are proven to be highly ineffective at detecting real fires, especially smoke from smouldering fires, or in many cases they detect them far too late (please see the enclosed film 'Stop The Children Burning'). I have photoelectric smoke alarms installed in my home only because I have been fortunate enough to have the knowledge and have made a choice accordingly - I believe this knowledge and the corresponding right to chose should be extended to every Australian family. Some people in the fire industry have known for decades about the limitations of ionization smoke alarms. This discussion document, if corrected creates a great opportunity for the public, and the fire industry to be given the chance to discuss the TYPE of alarm issue, which, in my opinion is critical BEFORE the Government makes any legislative changes. I just spoke with Sondra Lewis from the Fire Safety Review Team in relation to this discussion document project. I read this letter to Sondra and she commented that the public may be confused if faced with the prospect of having to choose between two types of smoke alarms. Sondra also said that the Fire Service is probably not mentioning anything about ionisation vs photoelectric for this discussion as there is currently no requirement under existing Australian Standards in relation to the type of smoke alarms that are to be installed in residential dwellings. P.T.O.

71/64 Gilston Road Nerang, Qld 4211 AUSTRALIA Ph: +61 7 5578 2640 ab@JoinOurCrusade.com NEW ZEALAND P.O. Box 863 Tauranga NEW ZEALAND Ph: +64 27 275 9521 kw@JoinOurCrusade.com UNITED STATES P.O. Box 196 Citrus Heights CA 95611-0196 United States of America Ph: +1 916 721 7700 rmp@JoinOurCrusade.com

Mission Statement

STOP
The Children BURNING
www.JoinOurCrusade.com

(2) Sondra made the point that her comments are 'unofficial', however these comments are a common reason given by officialdom in their defense of the ionization detector. Australian Standard 1670.1 does not relate to domestic dwellings but any reasonable thinking person will conclude that if this Australian Standard applies to commercial buildings where people sleep, surely we should allow the public, at the very least, to be told about, and be given the right to have their say, so that one day they may have the same effective detectors in their homes as are now mandated in commercial buildings. I am preparing a submission in relation to the discussion document. However I believe the document should be amended/corrected first so that the public can make valid and pertinent submissions. Our 'Smart State' now has the chance to live up to its name. Please investigate this matter. We now have the opportunity to 'get it right'… lives are dependant on it! Sincerely T.I.C.A.F.D.

Adrian Butler Founder C.C.: Mr A Sinclair, QFRS, Fire Safety Review Team Mr C Cummings, Minister for Emergency Services, Qld Enclosures: 1) 'A Review of Fire Safety Arrangements in Queensland' Page 4, 'Types of alarms' www.fire.qld.gov.au/about/publications.asp 2) 'Working Smoke Alarms can Save Lives' Please note the section that explains the two types of alarms and the power supply options. www.fire.qld.gov.au/safety/smoke_alarms.asp 3) Australian Standard 1670.1 Mandatory requirements for photoelectric smoke alarms in high risk areas. 4) DVD - 'Silent Alarms' (I will send this DVD if you want a copy.) This film shows independent scientific testing of ionization smoke alarms with a 75%+ failure rate. Please also note Judge Schonteiller quote. After awarding damages of $21.3 million against one of the worlds largest smoke alarm manufacturers the Judge said: “A smoke detector that sounds 19 minutes after smoke reaches its sensing chamber is like an airbag that deploys 19 minutes after a car accident.” 5) DVD - 'Stop The Children Burning' (and brochure) This film explains about ionization and photoelectric alarms.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful