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‘65% of homes don’t have alarm'

Smoke detector law comes into force this weekend - but many still don't realise how cheap and easy lifesaving devices are to install

FROM today, all homes in France should have a smoke detector - but it is thought that nearly two-thirds of properties still do not have one fitted.

Firefighters’ union the FFMI estimates that as many as 65% of homes in France will not be fitted with the life-saving devices by today’s midnight deadline, TF1 reports

Josiane Bosycot, the woman behind the law which comes into effect today, told the national broadcaster: “There are still many people who do not know how cheap and easy it is to install. Indeed, €15 and some screws or double-sided tape, and the detector is in place.”

Ms Bosycot’s 17-year-old daughter Julia died in a house fire when she stayed with friends in Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche, Yvelines, on April 20, 2002.

The fatal blaze was started by lit candles downstairs that had been forgotten. It spread quickly, and although the girls were alerted to the danger, Julia was unable to escape the fire.

“If the house had a smoke detector, my daughter would have had the few minutes necessary to get out," Ms Bosycot said.

Ms Bosycot said that the family struggled to cope In the “very difficult” years that followed their daughter’s death.

In 2006, she decided that Julia’s death should not be in vain, so she started campaigning for smoke detectors to become compulsory.

During her research, she discovered that 80% of the 800 people who die in house fires every year in France succumb to smoke inhalation, and that 70% of those deaths occur in fires that start when people are asleep.

Ms Bosycot said: “From morning to night, I wrote to politicians and the media. My daughter’s death had to help others.”

Her cause was taken up by UMP MP Pierre Morange. He promptly began to fight for the bill he called “The Josian Bosycot Law”.

Despite resistance, the law was finally adopted in 2010, though an initial plan to make carbon monoxide detectors compulsory was abandoned, along with an intention to sanction anyone who did not have a detector fitted.

Also read: Beware of smoke detector con

Insufficent smoke detectors in homes

Faults in one in three smoke alarms

Owners now liable for smoke alarms

Photo: Kenneth Lu

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