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Smoke detector legislation in the European Union

In Germany, Austria, Great Britain and Ireland, smoke detectors are broadly required in private living spaces. In many EU countries, however, much still needs to be done to protect homes by installing these life-saving devices.

EU Overview

Comprehensive smoke detector requirement
At least 1 smoke detector
per flat
No smoke detector requirement

The map shows smoke alarm regulations for flats and houses in Europe (Status 01/2022). In Great Britain, for example, smoke alarms have been mandatory since 1992. Scotland is the first country where all dwellings must even be equipped with networked smoke alarms.

In Germany, the “Smoke Detectors Save Lives” initiative has been successfully educating the public about fire safety for over 20 years. Today, smoke detectors are mandatory in all bedrooms, children’s rooms and corridors used as escape routes. In Berlin and Brandenburg, all common rooms must also be equipped with smoke detectors.

The information on the legal situation in the individual countries is based on our current knowledge. We assume no liability for completeness and correctness. Please note the actual legal situation and the detailed regulations in your country or the country of your choice.

Should you have knowledge of changes in the legal situation in your country or in another country, please send us more detailed information via email to under the keyword “legal regulation”. We would be particularly grateful if you could send us the regulations themselves or details of where they can be found.

Consumer education in Germany

Annual Smoke Detector Day

Smoke Detector Day in the Nordic countries and in Germany annually promotes smoke alarm education and awareness. In Germany, Smoke Detector Day always takes place on a Friday the 13th, a day that is colloquially associated with being unlucky. Among other things, Smoke Detector Day focuses on fire prevention, smoke detector installation, maintenance and what to do in case of fire.

Infographic Smoke Detector Day
Extract Media Evaluation as of 2019/2020

Effectiveness of the smoke detector requirement

Within a few years, the number of people in Germany saved in a fire by smoke alarms rose from an average of 1.2 to over four people per day (media evaluation as of 2019/2020). The study “Effectiveness of compulsory smoke alarms” by Dr. Sebastian Festag and Dr. Marion Meinert also demonstrates the direct effectiveness of compulsory smoke alarms in reducing the number of deaths.

Properly installing smoke detectors

Based on more than 20 years of experience with smoke detectors in German households, the “Smoke Detectors Save Lives” initiative recommends installing the detectors not only in escape routes, but also in bedrooms, children’s rooms and ideally also in the living room. In the event of a fire, a flat occupant only has about 120 seconds to escape. The earlier you are warned by a smoke detector in such an emergency, the higher the chances of surviving unharmed.

Smoke Detector Installation Apartment