Smoke Alarms Save Lives!

Ninety-five per cent of Canadian households have at least one smoke alarm. That explains why fewer Canadians die in home fires than back in the 1970s, before this practice became widespread.

Here are some tips on using them properly.

Types of Smoke Alarms

  • When buying a smoke alarm, look for the ULC label certifying the product meets Canadian standards.
  • Smoke alarms can be electrically powered, battery powered or a combination of both. Whatever kind you have, remember that they don’t last forever.
  • Ionization type smoke alarms typically respond first to flaming fires. They are best suited for rooms which contain highly-combustible materials.
  • Photoelectric type smoke alarms typically respond first to slow smouldering fires and are less prone to nuisance alarms near the kitchen area.
  • For maximum protection, install at least one ionization and one photoelectric type smoke alarm on each level of your home.

Safety Measures

  • Install a smoke alarm on every floor. In apartments or bungalows, install alarms near the kitchen and by every bedroom.
  • Make sure everyone in your home recognizes the sound of the alarm and knows what to do in case of a fire.
  • Never remove the batteries from a smoke alarm-for any reason!


  • Replace your smoke alarm every five years (at least…) and, in the meantime, make sure to regularly maintain it.
  • Clean the inside of smoke alarms every six months as they may not work if they are plugged up, even if the batteries are still good.
  • Clean smoke alarms more often if a smoker lives in the house.
  • Replace the batteries once a year, or when you hear intermittent beeping.
  • Test alarms monthly by pushing the test button.
  • If an alarm is electrically connected to household circuits and doesn’t sound, check the fuse and try again. In either case, if the alarm still isn’t working, replace the entire unit.

Source: Canada Safety Council

Questions? Call us or send us an e-mail and we’ll reply within one business day.