No Doubt About It: WORKING Smoke Alarms Save Lives.
By properly selecting, placing, testing and maintaining your smoke alarm, you will greatly increase your chances of surviving a home fire.
When you head to the store, you'll find there are many different types of smoke alarms on the market. There are battery-operated detectors and others that run on electricity. There are "ionization" sensor smoke alarms and "photoelectric" smoke alarms.
No matter what type of smoke alarm you purchase, make sure it is approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Canada (ULC) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
- All Ontario single family, semi-detached and town homes, whether owner occupied or rented, must have a working smoke alarm on every level, and outside all sleeping areas.
- If anyone in the household sleeps with the bedroom door closed, install an alarm inside their bedroom.
Remember! Your vacation trailer or cottage needs a smoke alarm too!
Put 'em Up:
Installing a smoke alarm is simple. A screwdriver and a drill are all you need to install a battery-operated smoke alarm. For smoke alarms that plug into an electrical outlet, be certain to use a restraining device so the plug can't be accidentally jarred loose. Smoke alarms can also be hardwired directly into your home's electrical system. A qualified electrician should do Hardwire installations. Never connect a smoke alarm to a circuit that can be turned off by a wall switch.
Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions and be sure your smoke alarms are held securely in place. Because smoke rises, smoke alarms should be mounted high on a wall or on the ceiling.
- Wall mounted smoke alarms should be installed so the top is 10 to 30 centimetres from the ceiling.
- Ceiling-mounted units should be installed at least 10 centimetres from any wall.
- If a room has a pitched ceiling, mount the smoke alarm at or near the ceiling's highest point.
- In stairways with no doors at the top or bottom, position smoke alarms in the path smoke would follow up the stairwell.
- Mount smoke alarms at the bottom of closed stairways, such as those leading to a basement. Dead air trapped near the door at the top of a stairway could prevent smoke from reaching a smoke alarm located at the top.
- Don't install a smoke alarm too close to windows, doors or forced air registers, where drafts could interfere with the smoke alarm's operation.
- If you have questions about the best places to install smoke alarms, contact the HHFD Public Education Division (905-877-1133) or Email us
Don't Shirk the Work – Batteries:
- Never remove the batteries from smoke alarms. If nuisance alarms are a problem, try moving the alarm to another location or purchase an alarm with a “hush feature” that temporarily silences the alarm.
- Change the batteries when you change the time on your clocks.
- Replace smoke alarms every ten years.
Test your smoke detectors at least once a month, following the manufacturer's instructions. Both battery-operated and electric smoke alarms become less effective with age. If your smoke alarm does not respond to the recommended test procedure (usually pressing a "test" button), change its batteries. If it still does not perform, replace it.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning your smoke alarms. Cobwebs and dust can generally be removed using a vacuum cleaner attachment. If you are doing work around a smoke alarm that could send dust into the air, cover the smoke alarm (don't forget to remove the cover when your through). Never paint any part of a smoke alarm.
Once your smoke alarms are up and running, make sure everyone in the household is familiar with the sound of the alarms and that they can be heard behind closed bedroom doors.
Plan escape routes and review them with all family members. Have at least two ways to get out of every room in your home. Agree on a meeting place outside your home where everyone can gather after they escape. Practice your escape.
When an alarm sounds, leave immediately. Go directly to your outside meeting place. Call the 911 and ask for the fire department.
Get out and stay out. Never return to a burning building.