1 in 6 Dutch homes still lack smoke detectors
From July 1, it will be mandatory to have smoke detectors on every floor of a home. However, one in six Dutch people still do not have a smoke detector at all, according to De Telegraaf. This is because the majority of people do not worry about fires and feel safe in their homes, insurance company Interpolis told the newspaper.
Another third of people who do have smoke detectors have not added or replaced the battery, rendering it useless. Or people simply buy the smoke detector, but "this does not mean that they have actually hung it. There are people who leave them in their packaging at home," said Patty Jansen, a behavioral researcher at Interpolis.
It has been mandatory for newly-built houses to have the device since 2003. The new requirement for all homes to have one will be enforced by municipalities, but it is unclear how high the fine will be for having no smoke detector. In addition, the Association of Dutch Municipalities said municipalities will not actively enforce the new rule, according to De Telegraaf.
In more than a third of fatal residential fires last year, there was no working smoke detector, said Yoni Hillen of the Netherlands Fire Brigade. People often think they will be able to smell smoke, but this is not always possible –– for example, when people are asleep, their noses also "sleep," Hillen said.
“You don't buy a smoke detector because it is mandatory, but only for yourself," Jansen said. "A smoke detector allows you to act quickly in the event of a fire. Such a device can make the difference between life and death.”