The point is to detect smoke right at the start of a house fire and immediately emit a sound signal which is loud enough to wake up someone who is asleep.
The smoke detector should carry the CE mark and conform to the European standard n° NF EN 14604. It should be solidly fixed high up, away from the walls and sources of steam, preferably in a corridor serving the bedrooms. It is recommended that you install more than one smoke detector in large dwellings or those which are on more than one floor. Smoke detectors adapted for deaf people are available and work with a light signal or vibration.
In theory… Property owners must install a detector before 8th March 2015.
The installation is the responsability of the owner whether he lives in the property or rents it out. For a new rental the smoke detector must be in place when the tenant takes over the property and maintenance can be done as required for a seasonal rental, a hostel, a hôtel, social housing, accommodation at a place of work or for a furnished rental. In other cases it is the tenant who is responsible for maintenance (changing batteries etc) and the landlord can ask the tenant to install the smoke detector – provided he pays for it or reimburses the tenant for its cost.
Proof of installation should be provided to the company which insures the property.
At the moment there is no legal sanction for not installing a smoke detector. Insurance companies cannot use the absence of a smoke detector to get round their obligation to indemnify damage caused by a fire in the dwellings they insure.
Specific measures for shared areas.
In buildings whose building permit (or extension of a permit) was applied for before 5th March 1987, and where the floor of the highest dwelling is no more than 50 metres above ground level, there should be fire doors separating the area where dustbins are kept (if they do not open to the outside or onto corridors) and the staircases between the basement and the rest of the building. A floor plan of the basement and the ground floor, and instructions for what to do in the case of a fire, should be on display in entrance foyers and close to stairwells and lifts.