Why should you install a smoke detector in your home? The answer is simple: to avoid the 10,000 victims – including 800 deaths – caused each year in France by domestic fires. Installing an Autonomous Smoke Alarm Detector (DAAF) can save your life. If it is now mandatory to install it, its effectiveness largely depends on its location. Here are some explanations on the best place to install it…
Smoke detector: what does the law say?
Faced with the number of fire victims, the legislator has made the DAAF mandatory in each dwelling. Every dwelling, house or apartment, must be equipped with a smoke detector since March 8, 2015.
How does a DAAF work?
Installed in a strategic location, this box is on permanent standby. As soon as it detects the slightest abnormal emission of smoke, it emits an 85 dB sound signal, powerful enough to wake up a sleeper. And that’s not negligible, when you know that 70% of fatal fires break out at night! The objective of the DAAF: to wake up the occupants before it is too late.
One detector per apartment, is that enough?
The law imposes and detector for single-storey housing. If your house has several levels, you must install one detector per floor. This is the minimum required by law. Feel free to add as many as you think necessary. In the case of collective housing, it is forbidden to install DAAF in the common areas.
What type of smoke detector should I choose?
It is not possible to buy the first DAAF to come… The law specifies that your detector must bear the mention CE and comply with the European standard NF EN 14604. As for the design, you are free! Note that if your home has a hearing-impaired person, there are suitable smoke detectors, which replace the sound signal with a light signal or a vibration.
Who should buy and install the smoke detector?
The law is clear: lessor or occupant, it is up to the owner to acquire the detector. Once installed, the installation of a DAAF must be reported to the insurer by the occupant of the accommodation (owner or tenant). Who knows, the insurer may give you a discount on the amount of the fire premium? It is then up to the occupant to ensure the maintenance of the DAAF, in particular by regular cleaning and changing the batteries.
If I don’t have a DAAF at home, what happens?
The law does not provide for a sanction in the event of non-compliance with the obligation. Whatever happens, the insurance company must indemnify the damage caused by a fire. But nothing can repair the loss of a life. The smoke detector has proven its effectiveness; its installation brings you real security.
Is there a required location?
The positioning of a DAAF is strategic. As the legislation is not very precise on this aspect, common sense rules must apply. The effectiveness of fire prevention depends on it.
Where is the ideal location for a smoke detector?
Certain locations guarantee the best possible effectiveness of your smoke detector. Others on the contrary will considerably reduce its usefulness.
Never install a DAAF in a body of water!
It is absolutely pointless to install your detector in a room where water vapor and cooking fumes are a daily occurrence. This is the case of the bathroom and some cuisinebut also a laundry room. The steam from a hot shower or the smoke from a pan-fried steak is enough to set off the smoke alarm. You wouldn’t have finished hearing the siren’s song…!
For the same reason, avoid installing the detector near the kitchen. Smoke coming out regularly, your DAAF will trigger its alarm several times a day!
NB: Smokers are invited to choose a place out of range of the detector to smoke their cigarette.
Install your detector high and in the middle
Did you know that the fumes always rise? For your DAAF to spot them as quickly as possible, it is better to install it as high as possible. The most effective is to put it on the ceiling. If this is impossible, place it on a mur 10 or 20 cm from the ceiling. For optimal detection, position your DAAF at the centre of the room.
Be careful, however, not to place it less than 50 centimeters from an electronic ballast or a low voltage transformer. Not too close to energy-saving bulbs either. In any case, never hide your detector behind a piece of furniture or in a corner of the room on the pretext that it is unsightly… It is vital to place it in a place clearfrom where he will perceive the slightest emanation of suspicious smoke.
Protect sleeping spaces first
Fatal fires usually start at night, while residents sleep. To be awakened at the first alarm, the sleeper must rely on a detector fairly close to him, that is to say no more than 3 m from a bedroom door. For this, the idea is to position the DAAF in the sleeping area of your home. Usually a corridor serves all the rooms: this is where you must install your detector. Placed in the center of the ceiling of the serving corridor, it will be heard by all occupants.
But for your safety, you can go further than the simple legal obligation. If the bedrooms are equipped with screens, computers, televisions and other electrical appliances, the risk of fire is multiplied. It is prudent to install a fire box in each room.
American cuisine? A detector in the living room.
Your American kitchen is open to the living room. As we avoid placing a DAAF in a kitchen, you can choose to install it in the adjoining living room, right in the center of the room. The box thus monitors the fumes emanating from the kitchen without triggering inadvertently. It will only react to abnormal smoke capable of invading the living room.
Is your house big? Go beyond the regulations.
One alerter per floor is sometimes insufficient. If your house has no floors but it is large, plan at least various smoke detectors. In fire prevention, do not stay at the legal minimum. A large house has several fire risk locations that can be quite far from each other, which justifies a mesh of several boxes. And if you have large floors, multiply the detectors according to the space to be secured. Also think of working rooms such as garage or workshop, where many flammable products are stored…
You can then opt for enclosures connected : if one of them goes off, all the others will ring at the same time. Even if you find yourself far from the fire starting zone, you are sure to hear the alarm!
Remember that a small outbreak of fire turns into an uncontrollable fire in just a few minutes. With a DAAF, you put the odds on your side to protect your home in the event of a fire. First smoke, first alarm, quick reaction.