Check your smoke detector, Latvian firefighters remind

Two years have passed since the existence of a smoke detector in a home is mandatory. In approximately half of housefires, no smoke detectors are found, State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) told Latvian Television January 10.

In 43% of fires, it was the smoke detector that alerted the homeowners. It is not exactly known how many homes have a smoke detector.

VUGD spokeswoman Agrita Vītola said: “Still, in half [of the cases] there were no detectors. And here we are talking about cases where it has been possible to detect it. It is often that we get a call for a fire – at night, when the house is burning in full flames, the roof has collapsed, virtually the structures have collapsed. Not only is it difficult to find a detector there, but it is also difficult to find if someone has died.”

Last year, 87% of the population indicated that there was at least one detector at home. In 2018, before it was a mandatory requirement, it was only 9%, according to data from VUGD polls.

The service stressed that the detectors did not protect against fire accidents, but merely warned, and this only happens if it is properly placed and regularly checked. It is best to press the test button at least once a month and make sure the batteries are not discharged, VUGD indicated. Dust can also interfere with its functioning or cause false alarms.

The rules provide that there must be at least one smoke detector on each floor of the dwelling, including a fire extinguisher in private houses.

The penalty for the absence of a smoke detector for individuals ranges from €30 to €280.

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