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Darin's product has been patented around the word and is expected to sell for $100 for a pack of three alarms. Darin's product has been patented around the word and is expected to sell for $100 for a pack of three alarms.
29 April 2017 Posted by 

Darin's remarkable innovation was born of despair

By Iliana Stillitano
 
FIVE years ago Darin Leatherby was lying in bed in despair.
A workplace accident had left him bedridden and, unable to work, he was staring down the barrel of financial stress with mounting debts.
 
He had no idea that an innovative idea that had come to him in a light bulb moment as he stared up at the bedroom ceiling would turn his world around.
 
“The smoke alarm started beeping. I couldn’t walk and I thought ‘How am I going to change the battery?’ That’s when my brain went off,” Mr Leatherby said.
 
In that moment, Mr Leatherby invented a novel way of mounting a smoke alarm system to the ceiling and a method to change the battery without the need for a ladder, chair or screws.
 
His very soon to be released holy Smoke Alarm kits include a photoelectric smoke alarm - the only type recommended by Australian fire brigades – a magnetic adhesive plate and a universal vacuum adaptor. 
 
A magnetic plate is attached to the underside of the alarm and a matching adhesive plate is glued to the ceiling using the suction of a vacuum. 
 
The alarm snuggly fits on the adaptor which is then attached to a vacuum pole and the suction used to position the alarm on the ceiling plate. The alarm is held in place by the magnets.
 
So simple to install, Mr Leatherby uploaded a YouTube video of his six and eight-year-old children mounting the alarm.
 
Mr Leatherby took the concept he’d dreamed up, patented it around the world and turned it into a promising new business. The kits are expected to retail for around $100 for a pack of three alarms.
 
“I drew up the design the next day and when I told my wife she wasn’t convinced. I won her over with my prototype,” he said.
 
Before long, Mr Leatherby secured a provisional patent and later with the help of Western Sydney based patent attorney Andre Meyer, he procured international patents. The World Intellectual Property Organisation deemed the product innovative and certainly one of a kind.  
 
“It saved my life,” Mr Leatherby said. “We were in absolute hardship. I was stuck in bed, constantly medicated for the pain from the accident I had at work, we lost our house and were renting and we had two babies.”
 
Some would say Mr Leatherby is an ace at invention and reinvention. He has gone from being a cabaret singer, cleaner and chef and more recently labourer to pay the mortgage.
 
It was the latter that set him on the path to success – but not without a major hurdle first. Mr Leatherby was using a rock drill to hammer through a wall at work and three days of repetitive, heavy drilling left him with a painful bulging disc.
 
“I needed two operations and suffered a breakdown because of the pain. To think this product helped me go from that person to now having just bought our own house and invested money into a promising business is incredible. Some things are God’s will and I strongly believe this is one of them.”
 
With the help of a financier, Mr Leatherby invested $200,000 into Holy Smoke Alarms which have caught the attention of entrepreneur Andrew Banks of Shark Tank.
 
While coy on how much he is set to make from the venture, Mr Leatherby said: “People tell me it’s worth millions, who knows. I don’t look at it that way. I think in 50 years my alarms could still be hanging in homes around the world saving lives and that would be great.
 
“There are too many homes that use the old ionisation smoke alarms which have been deemed ineffective and have been banned in some countries. We need to educate the community on the difference. Queensland is leading the way in changing the laws. Sadly, the number of people dying in house fires is still too many.”
 
Contact Darin at 0450 026 307 or email darinholysmoke@gmail.com


editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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