Dear A.S.S. Editor

It is reported that all newly built homes – Housing Board flats as well as private residences – will have to be installed with smoke detectors from next June, when an updated Fire Code is released. Called a home fire alarm, the device costs between $60 and $80 for a basic version. Installation could cost another $50 or so.

The best thing is, the cost of the smoke detectors will likely be borne by the home owners themselves. However, the authorities led by the SCDF are working with grassroots leaders to identify elderly and needy households that need financial help. The battery-operated devices are designed to alert occupants when triggered by smoke and function independently – they are not connected to emergency services or a central fire alarm system.

Currently, fire alarms are mandatory only for commercial, industrial or mixed-use buildings above a certain size. The real question that should be answered is, with home prices already sky-rocketing, why can’t the HDB install the smoke detectors free of charge? Or at least, they and the SCDF could come up with something to cover the cost. After, all, these are made compulsory in new homes, why push the cost down to the home owners themselves?

Kenny Toh

A.S.S. Contributor

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