FROM March 8 next year it will be obligatory for every residence in France to have a working smoke alarm fitted – but figures show only one in 10 homes has an alarm at the moment, despite them being cheap to buy, easy to fit and a potential life-saver.
In France, house fires claim up to 1,200 victims each year and Romain Canler of the Fédération Française des Métiers de l’Incendie (FFMI) said France was trailing its European neighbours by about 20 years as fire deaths had been cut in half since smoke detectors were widely introduced in the UK, Sweden and Germany.
But although householders have had five years to fit an alarm meeting the EN 14604 European standard and carrying the CE logo, or the NF EN 14604 French equivalent he said only between 10 to 12% of the 37 million private homes had done so.
Now, with the deadline approaching, he fears a late rush that could lead to a flood of fake detectors.
His federation recommends going for the extra security of the NF EN 14604, which has been tested for ease of installation, reliability and the guarantee of no radioactive materials used.
French law does not demand the detector be wired into the mains so householders can fit their own and a simple model will suffice.
The obligation is on the person living in the property to get the installation done.
Mr Canler said older people could get an FFMI installer to do the job for about €65, supplied and fitted.
The simplest detectors will cost from €15-€20 including batteries, with NF models coming in at €20-€40.
Once the alarm is fitted the householder is obliged to inform their insurer.