Smoke Detectors… do you have them, are they the best ones… are they too old… have you checked your batteries?

Written by AHQ

1 February 2019

G’day all,

It is rare that I share anything on here that is not Aussie Heroes related or military related but I hope you will bear with me as this is a topic that is very close to my heart.

As many of you, but perhaps not all of you, know, on the June long weekend in 2016 my home was completely destroyed by fire.   At 1am my son woke my husband and I up. Had he not been awake in his room I strongly suspect that none of us would be here today as, by the time he became aware of the fire, our house was already full of smoke. Ten minutes after we got out of the house it was engulfed in flames.

The thing is that we had functioning smoke detectors… we never let the batteries run down and changed them every six months regardless of whether they needed it or not. The smoke detectors were there to save our lives.

Well… when they were most needed they did not activate. Now I am no expert but I have learned a few things since then.

1. all smoke detectors have a shelf life of around 6 years. After that, even though you check the battery, the chemicals that are supposed to react to the smoke may not function as they are supposed to.

2. not all smoke detectors are the same. From what I know there are two main sorts.  Ionisation Smoke Detectors and Photo-Electric Smoke Detectors.  In some places Ionisation Smoke Detectors are banned bit not in all. We had functioning Ionisation Smoke Detectors installed in our home. The point is that they did not activate. I am lead to believe that had we had the Photo Electric Alarms they would have gone off. 

3. Since our fire, there have been numerous house fires around the country and in a number of them, people have died.  From what I understand, a number of those residences had the Ionisation Smoke Detectors. 

I just watched this episode of the Australian Story. You can click on this link and watch it Here.  

It is about chef, Matt Golinski who lost his wife and three daughters in a house fire and it is heart breaking but it also carries a powerful message. 

At the very end of the story there is a screen that pops up and explains that Matt’s father is trying to get Photo Electric Smoke Detectors made compulsory. 

Every time someone learns about my house fire, I educate them about the difference smoke detectors, their shelf life etc.  I feel compelled to.  

Watch this story and see the faces of those lost and you cannot fail to be moved. 

If one person reads this post, or watches this video, and checks and/or changes their smoke detectors over I will be happy.     

It was my Aussie Hero family who, by and large, cared for me and lifted me up when my home was destroyed.  I cannot watch a story like this and NOT share it with you as I never want anyone else to go through what we went through. 
Life is short.  Value it, respect it, and make the most of it.

Much love

Jan-Maree xx

Follow Us…

You May Also Like…


  1. Michael

    Thanks for that Jan-Maree. I did not know half of that but will definately be checking/replacing my smoke detectors next chance I get. Glad to see you back on your feet after 2016's fire. Take care, Michael

  2. Michael

    Thanks for that Jan-Maree.

    I didn't know most of that information. I will definately be checking/replacing my smoke detectors first chance I get now.

    Great to you're getting back on your feet again since the 2016 fire.

    Take Care, Michael


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *