Smoke alarm safety tips

Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org. (C) 2016 NFPA.

Smoke alarms save lives.

Did you know according to Provincial fire statistics:

  • 62 per cent of homes that had a fire did not have a smoke alarm installed
  • In the cases where smoke alarms were installed, only 41 per cent of the alarms activated. Most did not activate because they didn't have a power source - no battery, dead battery, electrical supply was off or it was disconnected. 

People who die in home fires often die from breathing in smoke and toxic gases emitted from fire. Don't let this happen to you. Follow these tips below.

Smoke alarm tips

  • Place smoke alarms on the ceiling in every bedroom and on every floor of your home.
    • Adding a smoke alarm is easy. Buy a battery operated alarm and install it according to the manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Test all smoke alarms monthly with smoke.
  • Place smoke alarms away from kitchens, bathrooms and air vents.
    • When your smoke alarm is activated without the presence of smoke or fire, it is called a 'nuisance alarm'. This may happen because the smoke alarm needs to be cleaned or is too close to appliances which release smoke or steam. Consider moving your smoke alarm further away from your kitchen or bathroom. Do not deactivate or remove the batteries from the alarm. Working smoke alarms save lives.
  • Change batteries twice a year (recommended when you change your clocks).
  • Modern smoke detectors/alarms now come with a 10-year battery that does not need to be replaced during the lifespan of the device. Check the manufacturer's instructions.

Proper installation of a smoke alarms is very important as well. Smoke alarms should be installed on a wall or ceiling only, according to the manufacturer's instructions. It must be a minimum of 10 cm (4") away from the wall and a minimum of 6 metres (20 feet) from any heat producing appliances such as stove and fireplaces.

Learn more about carbon monoxide alarms.

Practice your home fire escape plan. A house fire can become life-threatening within three minutes.

For more information
safety.educators@strathcona.ca
780-464-8468

Last updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Page ID: 39011