In Germany, around 200,000 residential fires occur every year. The smoke generated by domestic fires is particularly dangerous because it spreads many times faster than fire.
In just a few seconds, the familiar surroundings can smoke so much that life is in danger.
Smoke alarms are an important component of preventive fire protection.
By the way, in almost all federal states of Germany there is a smoke detector obligation for all bedrooms, children’s rooms and corridors which lead from common rooms with at least one smoke or wireless smoke detector.
An overview of international regulations can be found here.
Battery-powered smoke detectors are not expensive. You can buy them in electronics stores, DIY stores and the technical departments of department stores. A battery-operated smoke detector of good quality can be purchased for significantly less than 10 euros.
However, we recommend the purchase of a smoke detector with the quality mark Q.
The quality seal “Q” for smoke detectors is a registered trademark of Forum Brandrauchprävention e.V., which is awarded to manufacturers of smoke detectors. The quality mark Q for smoke detectors (“Q for quality”) is a brand-independent and above all reliable quality mark for really high-quality devices, which are particularly suitable for long-term use.
You can find more information here. (Sorry – only available in German language)
The basic requirements for obtaining the quality seal Q for smoke detectors are first of all the existence of the CE marking. The CE mark confirms the manufacturer’s compliance with the basic requirements for smoke alarms.
Corresponding technical requirements and applicable test procedures can be found in the European product standard DIN 14604. In addition, the smoke alarm device must also include information on installation and maintenance, for example.
While in principle it is not planned to subject the manufacturer’s data required for obtaining the CE mark to a separate test, smoke detectors with the Q mark are proverbially put through their paces by an independent institute.
In cooperation with the vfdb (Association for the Promotion of German Fire Protection), additional requirements and stricter test criteria were developed for this purpose, which are laid down in the vfdb Guideline 14-01 as well as in VdS 3131 (VdS Guideline for Smoke Detectors).
In addition to the relevant requirements of the product standard DIN EN 14604, it is a prerequisite for Q smoke detectors, for example, that the device has a permanently installed battery with a service life of at least ten years. If the battery life of 10 years has expired, the device must be removed and replaced with a new smoke or radio smoke detector.
The Q seal thus serves as a kind of aid for the consumer to be able to recognise high-quality devices as easily as possible. The purchase of a smoke detector is thus made considerably easier, especially for laypersons, and gives the consumer the good feeling of having purchased a reliable device.
Conversely, this of course does not mean that smoke detectors without Q are necessarily less reliable or worse than models with the quality label. The testing according to the criteria of the vfdb directive 14-01 as well as the issue of a corresponding Q certificate does not take place automatically with every smoke detector, but exclusively on the initiative of the manufacturer or distributor.
Please note in general when purchasing:
All devices should work on an optical basis.
An acoustic signal should be present when the battery is weak. (average battery life approx. one to three years). Otherwise change the batteries at least once a year (observe manufacturer’s instructions).
The device should have a CE mark and be tested (GS mark).
The volume should be at least 85 dB.
The devices should have a test button.
In larger flats, single-family homes or apartment blocks, the devices should be networkable. Then, for example, a cellar fire will also be indicated by the other detectors installed in the apartment. In kitchens or bathrooms, you should not install any detectors, as cooking or water fumes can quickly trigger a false alarm.
By the way:
Since conventional smoke detectors are naturally unusable for deaf people, various manufacturers offer smoke detectors with corresponding additional functions or optional accessories (flashing lights, vibration cushions).
These special systems are eligible for funding under the Bavarian Housing Programme as a precautionary measure for adapting homes to the requirements of people with disabilities and corresponding applications can be submitted to the relevant approval authorities. In this context, however, the minor limit of 1000 euros must be observed.