Smoke detectors obligatory on 1 January

Three years ago Flemish government parties decided to make smoke detectors obligatory in all Flemish homes.  Because the deadline by which a smoke detector has to be installed is coming closer the fire service has launched a new awareness campaign.

Smoke detectors have been obligatory for rented accommodation and new homes since 2013. Soon the obligation is being extended to all homes in Flanders.  The government decided on the requirement in order to cut the large number of deaths in home fires. By international comparisons Flanders performs badly.  During the past five years there were between 53 and 77 deaths in home blazes each and every year. Fire experts point to the poor safety culture in Flanders.  Many people don’t think it can happen to them.

Mass checks on whether or not you have a smoke detector installed are not expected.  The presence or absence won’t affect your insurance either.

When purchasing a smoke detector make sure it’s one with a battery that has a life of at least ten years.  That makes life easier. Install a detector on every floor and on the route from bedrooms to the front or back door.

Smoke detectors in kitchens, bathrooms and garages, places where fires often start, aren’t always a good idea because of frequent false alarms.  It’s better to install detectors in adjoining rooms.  Detectors in rooms with a dryer or where you charge your phone or electric bike are a good idea too, because fires often start here too.