Why this common safety device could be banned from homes

Safety experts are calling for a particular type of smoke detector found in most Queensland homes to be banned.

Newer, safer alarms are now available which sound far earlier, increasing your chance of survival.

On Boxing Day in 2011, chef Matt Golinski suffered terrible injuries trying to save his wife and three daughters from a fire that had broken out in their Sunshine Coast home.

On Boxing Day in 2011, chef Matt Golinski suffered terrible injuries trying to save his wife and three daughters from home fire. Source: 7 News

The home was fitted with ionisation smoke alarms that never sounded.


“If I had known things I knew now six-and-a-half years ago, things would be quite different,” Matt’s father Keith said.

Matt’s father is joining others on a mission to make the alarms, which are in 90 per cent of Queensland homes, illegal.

Keith Golinski is joining others on a mission to make ionisation alarms, which are in 90 per cent of Queensland homes, illegal. Source: 7News
Ionisation alarms are triggered by things such as burnt toast, but not by visible smoke – the first sign of a house fire. Source: 7 News

They are triggered by things such as burnt toast, but not by visible smoke – the first sign of a house fire.

Newer photoelectric detectors are faster and many claim they will “make the difference between living and dying.”

The CSIRO has tested alarms, but refused to release results, citing “commercial competition”.

The CSIRO is currently testing new photoelectric detectors but has not released the results. Source: 7 News

The battle to make the results public has now been taken to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The State Government began a 10 year phase-out program of ionisation smoke alarms last year, effectively banning them from new dwellings and mandating photoelectric alarms.

But the majority of Queenslanders won’t have to make the change-over until 2027. Mr Golinski said it was “not good enough”.

“It could be your family,” he said.

A decision is expected within a month.