Half of Dutch can't hear high frequency of smoke alarm
Smoke detectors are now mandatory on every floor of every house in the Netherlands. But many smoke detectors' frequency is so high that almost half of Netherlands residents won't wake up from it ringing, experts said to newspaper AD.
The government set standards for how loud a smoke detector's alarm must be, but not its pitch. As a result, many widely available smoke detectors ring at a too-high frequency for a large part of the population to hear. "A huge miss," audiological expert Rene van der Wilk said to the newspaper.
In 2015, the Netherlands Institute for Public Safety conducted an investigation into smoke alarms. It concluded that "almost half of young adults in a deep sleep, adults with hearing impairment, and almost all children (6 to 15 years) do not wake up at the usual frequency." A study in Australia in 2009 found that only 44 percent of people woke up to a high-pitched smoke alarm, compared to 92 percent to a low-pitched alarm.
According to the newspaper, the experts have warned policymakers about this, but their warnings were apparently ignored.
The Ministry of Home Affairs told the newspaper that it still makes sense to install conventional smoke detectors, adding that the Netherlands complies with the European standard.
Member of European Parliament Tonnie Manders (CDA) said he would raise the matter with the European Commissioner for the Internal Market.