THE LIVES of thousands of Clarence Valley residents and millions of people globally are at risk due to misinformation about smoke alarms, according to the chairman and co-founder of the World Fire Safety Foundation, Wooloweyah man Adrian Butler.
The former firefighter said more than 95% of households had the inferior ionisation alarms installed which detect sub-micron particles in the air instead of the more efficient and recommended photo- electric alarms.
"In smouldering fires where the heat is low the fire produces few sub-micron particles and in most cases the ionisation alarm will not operate," Mr Butler said.
He said this detection delay could be the difference between life and death.
He said it was about time the NSW Government follow the lead of the Northern Territory who on November 1 last year legislated all new premises must install photo- electric alarms.
"In commercial buildings you have to put photoelectric alarms in, so why do we have one stand- ard for commercial buildings and a completely separate standard for our homes where we sleep; it's insane."
Mr Butler's views have garnered the support of NSW Fire commissioner Greg Mullins.
Last week Mr Mullins told WIN TV news he had been lobbying every fire service in the country to recommend photoelectric alarms.
"The photoelectric alarms tests are showing they react faster, particularly in smouldering fires, which are the main type of fire you get in a home, so you'll get your family out faster," he said.
The NSW Fire and Rescue (FRNSW) website recommends photoelectric alarms due to their response time.
"Photoelectric alarms appear to provide a faster warning than ionisation alarms in most circumstances and there is little appreciable difference in performance during flaming fires.
"The FRNSW recommends the installation of photoelectric alarms, hard wired and interconnected, in all residential accommodation."
"If only installing one alarm, it should be a photoelectric alarm."