All newly built homes in Singapore will soon be required to have smoke detectors from next June, once the updated Fire Code is released, reported The Straits Times.
This comes as the voluntary use of fire extinguishers and fire alarms in homes had witnessed low take up rates despite encouragements from the authorities for several years, said Fire Safety Managers’ Association president Benedict Koh Yong Pheng.
He noted that making smoke detectors mandatory will help improve fire safety standards.
Dubbed a home fire alarm, the battery-operated device is designed to alert occupants once triggered by smoke. Functioning independently, the device’s basic version costs from S$60 to S$80, with the installation costing another S$50 or so.
While home buyers will likely shoulder the costs, the authorities are working with grassroots leaders to identify needy households and elderly that need financial assistance.
Fire alarms are currently mandatory for industrial, mixed-use or commercial buildings above a certain size, while the interior of homes are exempt.
Notably, two-thirds of last year’s fires, at 2,800 cases, occurred in homes.
“In many home fires, there have been cases of injuries or death due to smoke inhalation, which could have happened while the occupants were asleep,” said Koh.
“A localised smoke alarm will alert residents so they can react to the fire at an early stage,” he said, adding that each room, except the kitchen, should have smoke alarm.
Under the new rules, however, only one device will be required for each house due to cost concerns.
This article was edited by Denise Djong.