Decisions on smoke alarms are made all over Finland this year

Many Finnish housing companies plan to transfer the responsibility for smoke alarms […]

Jul 2024
Decisions on smoke alarms are made all over Finland this year

Many Finnish housing companies plan to transfer the responsibility for smoke alarms to the property owner. Starting in 2026, housing companies will be responsible for functioning smoke alarms, with many companies already taking a head start. The Finnish National Rescue Association SPEK reminds both housing companies and residents to pay attention to the number of smoke alarms to ensure safety.

The new Rescue Act introduces a change that affects a large part of Finnish homes. Previously, smoke alarms were the responsibility of the housing company only in recently completed new buildings. Now, new smoke alarms are being installed in all apartments across the country.

For housing companies, this means mapping the condition of existing smoke alarms in apartments and decisions on the type and number of alarms that need to be purchased and installed.

“It’s clear that housing companies are thinking about costs as prices have gone up. However, cutting corners in the wrong place can be costly later down the road,” says Ilpo Leino, Senior Specialist at SPEK

A fire in one apartment can spread to neighbouring homes, causing loss of life and damage from fire, smoke and firefighting efforts, as well as rendering the home uninhabitable and facing a lengthy rebuilding, during which the landlord is cut off from rental income. The cost of a single smoke alarm is negligible compared to the costs of a fire.

A lesser-known fact about smoke alarm responsibility is missed by many

Many housing company decision-makers are familiar with the minimum requirements of Finnish law, according to which smoke alarms must be installed every 60 square metres or part thereof and on all
floors. A lesser-known fact is that the law also requires evaluating the shape of the apartment and fire

“In a fire, getting out of harm’s way is a matter of seconds. A smoke alarm that is further away won’t detect the fire as quickly, and the direction where smoke travels can be affected by obstacles such as closed doors and ceiling beams,” says Leino.

It is also necessary to consider any specific fire hazards, such as electrical devices and batteries and their charging points.

A smoke alarm should be installed at least in every bedroom and in the hallway

“It is exceptional for a single smoke alarm to be enough for an apartment of 60 square metres. Residents should take interest in the decisions being made regarding their safety. For example, every bedroom should have an alarm as residents are at special risk when sleeping,” says Leino.

When we’re sleeping, it takes us more time to wake up to the sound of the alarm, alert others and leave the room and apartment. For this reason, SPEK recommends installing a smoke alarm at least in every bedroom and hallway.

One smoke alarm should be placed in the hallway because it serves as the exit during an emergency. In the event of a fire in the hallway that is not quickly detected, it may be too late to escape through the front door.

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