Report: Smoke detectors in France not effective enough

An investigation by the DGCCRF found that not all smoke detectors are as effective as they should be

One in 8 fire smoke detectors in homes across France does not conform to regulation or offer adequate protection against fire, a new report has found.

An investigation by consumer and fraud agency la Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF) found that many detectors are not as reliable as they should be.

Since 2015, the law has stipulated that it is compulsory to have a smoke detector in every home, known in French as a détecteur avertisseur autonome de fumée (DAAF), sold at between €12-15 each.

But testing by the DGCCRF found that one in 8 models available does not work properly, and does not always detect fire as quickly or as sensitively as it should.

In total, investigators issued seven warnings, two administrative injunctions, and one verbal warning to detector manufacturers, and will continue to monitor standards.

Since 2015, it has been the legal responsibility of the property owner to install a DAAF device. In rented homes, either the owner can install it for the tenant, or the tenant can buy and install it, and bill the owner afterwards.

It is then the responsibility of the resident (whether owner or tenant) to maintain the upkeep of the device and ensure it is working properly.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing people are also eligible for further alert devices.

A fire is declared every two minutes in France, causing almost 800 deaths per year.

Residents are warned to avoid leaving kitchen appliances unattended, and never overnight; to store matches and lighters away from children; and to avoid overloading plug sockets with too many extension leads or appliances, which can provoke dangerous power surges.

If you notice any fire, leave the property immediately and call emergency services. In France the number for the sapeurs-pompiers (fire brigade) is 18, or 112 from a mobile phone.

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