Smoke Alarms

Facts About Smoke Alarms:

  1. Protect yourself and your family.
    Most fire deaths occur in homes where there are no working smoke alarms. Remember, only a working smoke alarm can save your life.
  2. Smoke alarms save lives.
    Most fatal fires occur at night when people are asleep. Often, victims never wake up. A working smoke alarm will detect smoke and sound an alarm to alert you, giving you precious time to escape.
  3. Buying the best alarm.
    There are many types of smoke alarms, each with different features. Alarms can be electrically connected, battery powered or a combination of both. The hush feature to reduce nuisance alarms is highly recommended. 
    Dual Sensor smoke detectors have both ionization and photoelectric sensors in them. This offers maximum protection from two primary types of fires: sensing smoke particles produced in both flaming and smoldering fires.
  4. One smoke alarm is not enough.
    Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and near sleeping areas. If you or your loved ones sleep with bedroom doors closed, install an alarm inside each bedroom.
  5. Where to install smoke alarms.
    Because smoke rises you should place alarms on the ceiling. If you cannot do this, place them high up on a wall, according to manufacturer’s instructions. There are certain locations to avoid such as near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows, or close to ceiling fans.
  6. Test your smoke alarm regularly.
    Every week, test your smoke alarm using the alarm test button. Once a month test your alarms using smoke from a smouldering cotton string. Follow your owner's manual.
  7. Change your clock, change your battery.
    Install a new battery of the proper type at least once every year. If the low battery warning beeps, replace the battery immediately. We change our clocks each spring and fall so this is a good time to change your smoke alarm batteries too.
  8. Gently vacuum alarm every six months.
    Dust can clog a smoke alarm, so carefully vacuum the inside of a battery powered unit using the soft bristle brush. If electrically connected, shut off the power and vacuum the outside vents only. Restore power and test the unit when finished.
  9. Smoke alarms don't last forever.
    Smoke alarms do wear out, so if you think your alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new ones.
  10. Plan your escape.
    Make sure that everyone knows the sound of the smoke alarm and what to do if a fire occurs. Regularly practice your home fire escape plan. Know two ways out of every room and have a pre-arranged meeting place outside. Once out, stay out and call the fire department from a neighbour's home


Produced by:

Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services
The Office of the Fire Marshal © 1994.

Smoke Alarm Law:

Smoke alarms are mandatory under the Ontario Fire Code (see: Section 2.13 of the Ontario Fire Code).