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Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke Alarms

What you need to know

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including outside of sleeping areas and in the basement. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Both ionization and photo-electric style smoke alarms are suitable for homes:
    • Ionization: Respond to fast flaming fires that generate a lot of heat but not necessarily a lot of smoke. Install in living and sleeping areas of the home.
    • Photoelectric: Respond to smoldering fires that produce a lot of smoke with less heat. Install near kitchens, as they are less prone to nuisance alarms caused from cooking.
  • Specially designed smoke alarms for the hearing and visually impaired are available.
  • For older homes, a wireless interconnected smoke alarm system is more cost-effective than hard-wired models.
  • Consider installing home fire sprinklers – their effects can dramatically reduce heat, flames and smoke produced from a fire.

Where to install them

Don’t install alarms near drafts that prevent smoke from entering the unit, or near bathrooms or kitchens.


  • Test your smoke alarm once a month by pressing the test button.
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • Never disable or borrow a batter from a smoke alarm.
  • Regularly vacuum or dust your smoke alarms, to remove dust and buildup.
  • Never paint over a smoke alarm

Nuisance Alarms

  • If the alarm goes off unnecessarily, relocate it farther from kitchens or bathrooms –a few centimeters can reduce a nuisance alarm significantly.
  • Keep ovens and stovetop burners clean.
  • Use the range hood fan to remove smoke or steam from the air.
  • Install smoke alarms with a pause or hush feature that will temporarily silence the alarm.
  • Never remove the batter or disconnect the smoke alarm to preventing nuisance alarms. Doing so, will increase the risk of injury or death.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide: What is it?

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is odourless, colourless, and tasteless.
  • It crowds out life-sustaining oxygen from red blood cells and prevents the body from absorbing oxygen.
  • Sources of CO in the home come from gas or oil furnaces, hot water heaters, gas stoves, fireplaces, wood-stoves, propane fired appliances used indoors, clogged or leaky chimneys, exhaust ducts and vehicle exhaust fumes.

Carbon Monoxide Warning Signs

  • Exposure to CO can cause symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue, burning eyes, vomiting, or loss of muscle control.
  • If you experience any of these symptoms, or the CO detector goes off, leave the home immediately, and call 911 from a safe location.
  • If the alarm sounds, evacuate the home, and call 911. Do not re-enter the home until a qualified technician has corrected the problem.

Placement of Carbon Monoxide Alarms

  • Install CO alarms near each sleeping area.
  • Never cover or block detector with furniture.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Proper installation, use maintenance and inspection of fuel burning appliances is always the first line of defense.
  • Never use a charcoal barbecue grill, portable gas grill or similar equipment inside a home, tent, trailer or garage.
  • Never operate a vehicle in an enclosed area.
  • Keep all flue vents and chimneys clear of debris and other blockages.
  • Never block or plug a furnace combustion air intake or a fresh air vent.
  • Never store anything close to your appliances that could restrict air circulation.

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