France has passed a new law, making it compulsory for all homes to be fitted with a smoke alarm by 2015. The law, known as ‘Morange’ aims to reduce the number of deaths caused by house fires. In the UK, most of us fit smoke alarms as standard in our homes – it’s been a legal requirement since 1997. Every year on TV, there’s an advertising campaign with hard-hitting images about the consequences of not having one. As a result, over 90% of homes in the UK have them fitted. A survey conducted by the UK Statistics Authority in 2010 found that over 90% of UK homes had at least one smoke alarm, but that in France, the figure was startlingly lower at 2%. House fires are responsible for over 800 deaths a year in France, so it makes sense to take heed and get one fitted.
It’s your responsibility
The responsibility of checking the alarm will fall at the feet of the homeowner, and if you own gites or are a landlord, fitting and checking the smoke alarms on those properties will also be your responsibility.
The new law also states that if you don’t fit a smoke alarm by 2015, and you have a fire, your insurance company will charge you a 5000 Euro excess if you make a claim.
It’s strange, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of not having a smoke alarm when I lived in the UK…and I regularly pressed the red button to ensure it was still working………mind you, most of the time I didn’t have to as it went off every time I made toast! Yet here in France, there wasn’t one fitted when we arrived and six months later, it hasn’t crossed our minds to get one. We’re so focussed on all the renovation work; somehow our basic safety has been overlooked.
Don’t wait and run the risk of becoming another French statistic, get one now!