Table of contents:
- Liability is a matter for the country
- False alarm due to technical defects
- When it burns
- Court decisions on blind alarm:
- Cooking alarm
- Smoke in the retirement home
- Putting the door in allowed
Smoke detectors can be wrong. Who is liable if cigarette smoke or cooking fumes trigger the false alarm and the fire brigade approaches?
Almost everywhere in Germany, smoke detectors are mandatory in houses and apartments. This increases security, but also increases fire service operations due to false alarms. Because sometimes a smoke alarm senses danger when only the fat in the pan has become too hot or a resident has taken a hot shower for too long. Who is liable if the fire brigade had to move in vain? If this has also forced entry into the apartment, the question arises as to who has to pay for the destroyed front door.
Liability is a matter for the country
The respective federal states are responsible for fire safety regulations. Consequence: The laws can differ from country to country. Anyone who has received a decision on costs from the municipality after a fire service mission should therefore first look into the fire service law that applies to them. Of course, the person who calls the fire brigade for fun or who has deliberately triggered a smoke alarm must pay the stake. Those who smoke directly under the smoke alarm or spray the device with insect spray and thus trigger an alarm also act with gross negligence.
False alarm due to technical defects
If, on the other hand, the device emits a loud battery warning tone because the battery has run down, the neighbor who then calls the fire brigade does not have to pay for the unnecessary use. After all, he acted with the best of intentions. The cost of a false alarm due to technical defects must always be borne by the person who is responsible for the condition of the fire detector. In most federal states, this is the direct user - i.e. the resident of the apartment. Exception: In Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Rhineland-Palatinate, the owner of the property is also always liable for rental apartments.
Household tips Switch off the smoke detector: Solutions in the event of a false alarm The smoke detector beeps continuously or has a false alarm been triggered? We show you how to correctly classify the signal tone and how to switch your smoke detector off.
When it burns
If, on the other hand, there was objectively a real danger and the fire brigade was rightly used, the resident is not liable for costs unless he caused the fire deliberately or through gross negligence.
Court decisions on blind alarm:
If the tenant knows that the smoke alarms in the rental apartment are directly connected to the fire department, it can be expensive for him if he triggers a false alarm through his behavior. The tenant had cooked in the kitchen. A lot of smoke, haze and heat had been created. Instead of opening the window in the kitchen, the tenant had opened the kitchen door to the hallway. The smoke alarms installed there triggered an alarm and triggered a fire service. However, the tenant should have prevented this. After this had happened for the second time, the regional court in Frankfurt decided: The tenant must reimburse the costs for both firefighting operations in the total amount of 609 euros. Case number: 2-11 S 153/14
Smoke in the retirement home
There were multiple false alarms in patient homes in a retirement home, each caused by burnt food. The approached fire department could not find any acute danger. The home management was asked to checkout for the false alarm. As the operator, she was responsible for the proper functioning of the fire alarm system, judged the administrative court in Neustadt. Case number: 5 K 491 / 14.NW
Putting the door in allowed
If the fire department arrives because the smoke detector gives warning signals, it can force itself into the apartment, provided there is no alternative. The district court of Heidelberg: Despite a false alarm, the owner cannot claim compensation for damaged windows or doors. After all, the fire service wanted to prevent greater damage to the property. Case number: 1 O 98/13