Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Home fires kill eight Canadians a week. While these fires represent 40 percent of all types of fires, they are responsible for 73 percent of fire deaths. Most of these deaths could be prevented by taking a few precautions.


It is important to put smoke detectors in the right places in your home. You should also test them regularly to make sure that they work properly. You can minimize your family’s risk of fire-related injury or death by installing the right number of smoke detectors in the right places in your home, and by keeping them all in good working order. Read more about installing and maintaining smoke alarms from the National Fire Prevention Association.

Every month

  • Test your alarm: Press the button on your smoke alarm and keep it pressed down. The alarm should sound.
  • If your alarm has no button, it is outdated and must be replaced.
  • Another way to test the alarm is by holding a freshly extinguished candle under it. The alarm should sound within 20 seconds.
  • Let air circulate to get rid of the smoke and allow the alarm to turn off.

Twice a year

  • Change the batteries in all smoke alarms twice a year (for example, when you change your clocks in the fall and spring).


  • Practice your escape plan

Every two years

  • Take the cover off and clean it with a damp cloth.
  • Carefully vacuum the inside of the alarm.
  • Put the cover back and make sure the alarm is working.

Every 10 years

  • Replace your smoke alarm. Some models last as little as 5 years.

If you can’t reach your smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector or have any questions about them give the fire department a call at (604) 947-9324.