Matt Golinski's dad calls for better alarms after tragedy

Matt Golinski
Matt Golinski Luka Kauzlaric

THE father of celebrity chef Matt Golinski, who lost everything in a devastating Tewantin house fire on Boxing Day 2011, has fronted a Senate Inquiry in his push to have mandatory safety requirements improved.

Keith Golinski, who lost his daughter-in-law and three granddaughters in the blaze, said he was determined that photo-electric smoke alarms be mandatory in Australia, after major question marks had been raised over the safety of traditional ionisation alarms.

Ionisation alarms are the norm in Australia but Mr Golinski was convinced that photo-electric alarms, as well as greater community awareness, were needed.

"People are really living a life of Russian roulette," he said.

Mr Golinski said it was rewarding to see the amount of attention the issue was getting both from senators and the national media.

"It's very satisfying to see the amount of interest," he said.

"The change (to photo-electric alarms) has certainly got to happen.

"It has to come through legislation and changes to building codes as well as public awareness."

There is growing evidence supporting the push for a shift, with photo-electric alarms able to be activated by identifying smouldering smoke, rather than having to wait until a flame formed.

Mr Golinski said while the pain would never fully heal, he hoped the changes would be introduced to avoid other families having to go through what his had.

"You never get over a thing like that completely but you learn to keep it in its right place," he said.

"We had a horrible experience with a fire and (ionisation) alarms that didn't operate that were supposed to be functioning and didn't warn anyone."

Many experts say this ability to identify smoke and sound the alarm while a fire may still be in its smouldering stages could be the differ

ence between life and death, and that ionisation alarms should be outlawed as they simply didn't act fast enough.

World Fire Safety Foundation chairman, co-founder and former firefighter Adrian Butler said: "Ionisation alarms aren't safe, they should be recalled."

Topics:  noosa emergency

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