Smoke Alarms

Test Your Smoke Alarms

If a fire starts in your home while you are asleep, you want to know about it immediately. Some homes are equipped with electrically connected smoke alarms that may not work when the power is out. Make sure your home has a battery-operated smoke alarm on every level. It is also a good idea to have a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.

Smoke Alarm Maintenance Schedule

Home fires kill eight Canadians a week. Most of these deaths could be prevented by taking a few precautions. Follow these tips from Fire Prevention Canada to help protect you and your family from home fires.

Every Month

Test your alarm by pressing the button on your smoke alarm and keeping it pressed down; the alarm should sound. If your alarm has no button, it is outdated and must be replaced. Another way to test the alarm is by holding a freshly extinguished candle under it. The alarm should sound within 20 seconds. Let air circulate to get rid of the smoke and allow the alarm to turn off.

Twice a Year

Change the batteries in all smoke alarms (for example, when you change your clocks in the fall and spring).

Every Two Years

​Clean your smoke alarm by taking the cover off and cleaning it with a damp cloth, carefully vacuuming the inside of the alarm, and then with the cover back on, make sure the alarm is working.

Every Ten Years

Replace your smoke alarm. Some models last as little as five years.


If Your Smoke Alarm is Not Working

  1. Replace the battery
  2. Check fuses and circuit-breakers, or call an electrician. There may be an electrical problem in your home.
  3. If these steps do not help, the alarm may be defective. Replace it immediately.
  4. When you take out the alarm battery, always replace it with another one immediately.
  5. Do you need assistance. Our department would be happy to assist. Call our office to book an appointment at 250.544.4238

Smoke Alarm Rules

The Housing and Construction Standards section on the BC Government’s website has detailed information on the Smoke Alarm Rules.

Notice: Smoke alarms are now required in homes, hotels and motels built before 1979 under new rules. The BC Government amended the provincial fire code to make battery-operated smoke alarms mandatory in older buildings, effective May 1, 2010.

Do You Have an Escape Plan?

Fire safety also depends on every member of the household knowing what to do and having an escape plan. If you do not have an emergency plan, take a few minutes to create one today.

These tips have been brought to you by Public Safety Canada in cooperation with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, with information provided by Fire Prevention Canada.