The forgotten lifesaver in Ipswich homes
FAMILIES suffocated by smoke, unable to escape and burned alive as they sleep is the cruel reality behind the aim of tougher smoke alarm legislation.
Emergency services were called to 454 house fires across South East Queensland this year, 76 of which were in Ipswich and saw 14 Queenslanders killed inside their homes.
Almost 16 Ipswich house fires happened in November and December however the rate is close to 20% lower than this time last year.
Logan House Fire Support Network were on scene of the majority of house fires throughout the region, providing first response care to families and individuals who had lost everything.
Founder Louie Naumovski spent close to two years campaigning for tougher smoke alarm legislation, forcing home owners and landlords to meet strict but achievable standards.
They will ensure residents have the best possible chance to escape a fire or self-extinguish if safe to do so.
The legislation was passed in August and will come into force on January 1, requiring new homes to be fitted with photoelectric type smoke alarms in every bedroom and hallway.
It means Queensland has the strictest and most effective smoke alarm legislation in Australia.
"They are the forgotten lifesaving tool in your home and they will save your life," Mr Naumovski said.
"The whole purpose is to reduce the death toll, fires do occur so we are urging people to comply as soon as possible.
"Fines will be implemented for those who don't comply and we make no apologies for what we did and what we fought for."
He said he used his own personal experiences at the scene of traumatising house fires to testify at a Federal Senate Inquiry into the use of smoke alarms and push State Government to act.
"These people are left on the side of the road with nothing," he said.
"Something has to be done to protect the lives of these people.
"People are not getting enough early warning, carbon monoxide is the silent deadly killer, smoke inhalation kills people and they are unable to get out early enough.
"When you go to sleep so does your sense of smell and sadly firefighters find bodies sound asleep."
A standard single storey four bedroom house will cost about $750 to be fitted out with photoelectric smoke alarms.
Mr Naumovski said it equated to $1.30 per week.
What the legislation means for home owners:
From January 1, smoke alarms installed in new homes must be:
. Photoelectric type only;
. Hard wired to the electricity supply;
. Interconnected to every other smoke alarm;
. Installed in each bedroom;
. Installed in hallways serving bedrooms; and
. Installed in the exit path of every storey not containing bedrooms.
All houses being built or significantly renovated will need to comply with the smoke alarm legislation upon completion after January 1, 2017.
All houses leased or sold will need to meet compliance after January 2022.
All owner-occupied private dwellings will need to comply after January 2027.
For details see www.qfes.qld.gov.au.