Smoke & CO Alarms

According to Stats Canada in 2014, nine in ten of all fire-related deaths occurred as a result of residential fires. Even more alarming is the fact that 23% of all residential fires occured in homes without a smoke alarm present; a number which more than doubled from the reported 9% in 2009.

Smoke inhalation, and being trapped by spreading fire/smoke cause a majority of the fire-related deaths. The lack of present and working smoke alarms denies home dwellers the time they require to exit their homes with their loved ones.

We want you and your family to sleep soundly…smoke alarms can give you that piece of mind.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Sleep with the doors shut.  
    • Closed doors can slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire that contribute to life and property loss.
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every floor of your house and in every bedroom.  
    • Be sure to follow manufacturers’ suggestions for placement on the ceiling or wall.  
    • Larger homes may need extra smoke alarms.

There are different types of smoke alarms to choose from:  

Ionisation alarms: are best at detecting fast-flaming fires. They should be located away from the kitchen and bathroom as the steam from these locations can cause the alarm to sound (nuisance alarm).  

Photoelectric alarms are best at detecting smoke and smouldering fires which is a common type of house fire. They do need to be dusted as part of regular maintenance as dusts or insects entering the unit can cause false alarms.  

Dual alarms contain both ionisation and photoelectric sensors, and so they get the best and worst features of them both.  

Heat alarms are ideal for kitchens and detect heat rather than smoke  

Combo w/ Carbon Monoxide alarms are great to include detection when gas heating appliances are present in the home.

  • Test your smoke alarms once a month.
  • Check the expiration date.  
    • Check the date on the side of the unit or near the battery casing.  
    • Replace every 10 years (even hardwired units)
  • Change the batteries, twice a year.  
    • Be sure to follow manufacturers’ instructions for the correct type of batteries to use.

Consider specialty smoke alarms for the deaf/hard-of-hearing (light up) and for young children (voice enunciated).

  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and how to respond.  
    • Create a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room

Download the NFPA: Home Fire Escape Plan grid here.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas produced when fuel is burned. CO is poisonous and can cause death in as little as one to three minutes. It is produced by:

  • Vehicles
  • Stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Gas ranges
  • BBQs
  • Small engines
  • Portable generators
  • Furnaces

 To prevent CO poisoning use a detector at home.

For more information:

BC Government Carbon Monoxide Safety

Fortis BC