Slacks Creek Case Study

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Slacks Creek House Fire

On 23 August 2011, a fire started on the ground floor of a house occupied by two families in Slacks Creek. The first of twenty-three 000 emergency calls was made at 12.04am on 24 August. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services was notified at 12.05am and arrived at the scene six minutes later. By the time they arrived, the house was already fully engulfed in flames. This fire caused the greatest loss of life in a domestic house fire in Australian history. Eleven people lost their lives; eight were children. The fire devastated two families and has had a profound impact on not just the local community, but the whole of Queensland.

In reviewing the circumstances that lead to the Slacks Creek fire, the State Coroner made two recommendations:

  1. that legislative amendments be made to mandate the installation of photoelectric and interconnected smoke alarms in every bedroom, between areas containing bedrooms, in any hallway servicing bedrooms and in any other storey of a residential dwelling. For new residences, the coroner recommended that the smoke alarms be hardwired, while in existing residences, smoke alarms may be hardwired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery.
  2. that Queensland Fire and Emergency Services conduct ongoing awareness campaigns to promote the development of practised escape plans.

The new legislation supports both recommendations, in hopes of limiting the type of tragedies that occurred in Slacks Creek.

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