Starting from 1 January 2020, smoke detectors will be required by law in every house in Flanders.
Since 2013, smoke detectors in rental and newly-built houses were required to have at least one smoke detector per storey, but the Flemish government parties N-VA, CD&V and Open Vld agreed on requiring it for all Flemish houses in 2016. The obligation is meant to reduce the large number of house fire deaths in Flanders, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
Over the past five years, between 53 and 77 people have been killed in house fires each year, and there has been no downward trend, reports VRT NWS.
“Many people are not aware that a fire can break out in their homes,” said Bert Brugghemans, the spokesperson for the Fire Service Network, the umbrella organisation of all the Flemish fire brigades, reports VRT NWS.
“There will be no large-scale control checks. The intention is not to bully people,” he said. “However, we do ask people to register their smoke detectors via the website hangrookmelders.be, to get a general overview of the number of installed detectors,” he added.
The obligation will not affect the fire insurance as insurers do not require smoke detectors. “We are looking at the bright side,” said Brugghemans. “Smoke detectors save lives and we encourage people to install them as much as possible,” he added.