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This week is Fire Prevention week and this year’s theme is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives – Test Yours Every Month”. Educating people on smoke alarms is important as there continues to be more deaths related to fire that could be prevented. Statistics show that fires kill 8 people in Canada every week and 73% of these fatalities are from residential fires.
Smoke alarms are an important part of any home fire escape plan, so make sure all the smoke alarms in your home are in working order. Smoke travels quickly, having working smoke alarms can give you early warning to get outside.

Smoke Alarm Basics – from Canada Safety Council.

  • You need a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Single level homes and apartments should have smoke alarms near the kitchen and all sleeping areas.
  • Test your alarm monthly by pushing the test button. Once a year, use a smoldering cotton string or incense until the smoke makes the alarm sound. If the alarm is battery-powered and doesn’t sound, replace it with a new battery and try again. If it’s 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.
  • Replace the batteries twice a year, or when you hear intermittent beeping. Don’t use rechargeable batteries. Unlike regular batteries, they lose their charge without emitting any warning signal.
  • Smoke alarms can be electrically powered, battery powered or a combination of both. Whatever kind you have, remember they don’t last forever. Err on the side of safety – replace them every five years with new ones.
  • Make sure everyone in your home recognizes the sound of the smoke alarm and knows what to do in case of a fire. Everyone should know two ways out of every room and have a prearranged meeting place outside. Practice your home fire escape plan regularly. In case of an actual fire, once out, stay out, and call the fire department from the nearest phone. Never go back into your home until the fire department says it is safe.

Lots of people out there do not test their smoke alarms. Testing your smoke alarms regularly is a simple measure that can be taken to help keep you and your family safe. Test them every month!

Fire Prevention fact sheet:
Fire Safety for kids: