Working smoke alarms save lives: Test yours monthly

The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week is Working Smoke Alarms: Test Yours Every Month! This is a timely theme given that although smoke alarm legislation came into effect in 2006, there are still far too many people dying in fires. This year alone, 57 Ontario residents have lost their lives as a result of a fire in their home.Working-Smoke-Alarms

Testing your smoke alarms should be something automatic, that you remember to do every month and the end benefit is that it could save your life.

Working Smoke Alarms: Test Yours Every Month!

But only working smoke alarms save lives. Testing them monthly ensures they will work when they need to. It is also important to keep your smoke alarms in working order by installing new batteries at least once a year and replacing the alarms after 10 years.

There are some important decisions to make about where smoke alarms should be located in your home.

The law requires a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas and applies to all single-family, semi-detached and town homes, whether owner-occupied or rented. Larger homes may nesmoke-alarm-FIed more for sufficient protection. As an added measure, consider installing smoke alarms inside all bedrooms.

Home escape planning goes hand-in-hand with working smoke alarms. While smoke alarms will alert you to a potential fire in your home, it is equally important to know and practice your home escape plan so you can get out quickly. Also reach out to your neighbours, friends, and relatives that may need assistance with maintaining and testing their smoke alarms and developing their home escape plan.

Fire departments across the province have planned a number of activities for Fire Prevention Week. These community events help promote fire safety in the household. Everyone is encouraged to participate with family and friends. As part of this year’s campaign, the fire service is encouraging community residents to get involved by taking pictures (“selfies”) of themselves testing their smoke alarms at home and posting them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest with the hashtag #FPW2014.

To find out how easy it is to test your smoke alarms, check out the new, creative, and light-hearted videos developed by Burlington Fire Department on their YouTube Channel: BurlingtonFirePubEd.

Smoke Alarm Facts

  • It’s the law to have working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Failure to comply with the Fire Code requirements could result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.
  • Working smoke alarms increase your chances of surviving a fire by 50%.
  • There was no smoke alarm warning in 1 out of 3 fatal home fires.
  • Homes today burn up to 8X faster than 50 years ago.

To get more information about smoke alarms, contact your local fire department or visit

Follow us on Twitter @ontfiremarshal. The official hashtag for Fire Prevention Week 2014 is #FPW2014.