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Most fire alarms won't save you

Most modern fire alarms and smoke detectors don’t work well enough to save families from quick-burning modern fires.

By Caroline Overington
MOST modern fire alarms and smoke detectors don’t work well enough to save families from quick-burning modern fires.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a Senate inquiry into the failure of many smoke alarms to alert families to danger.
It quotes the father of chef Matt Golinski, whose wife Rachael, and three daughters Sage, Willow and Starlia all died in a house fire in 2011, despite having smoke detectors.
The report says "a few simple changes to outdated laws" might have prevented the tragedy.
"In disturbing evidence, fire authorities said current smoke alarm practice is inadequate, indicating the public has been lulled into a false sense of security.
"Fire and Rescue NSW said modern, quick-burning furnishings mean fires can progress to a fatal 'flashover' in as little as two minutes, compared with the 1970s, when it took up to 20 minutes.
"The CSIRO says open-plan homes can exacerbate the effect."
Matt Golinski suffered third-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body. The Queensland Coroner found the fire at his Sunshine Coast home was likely to have been started by Christmas tree lights or a power board, and the family "received no warning" from two ionisation smoke alarms.
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