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Working Smoke Alarms Can Help Save Lives

Pickering, ON, April 9, 2013 - To prevent a tragic fire, Pickering’s Fire Chief is urging residents to ensure their homes have working smoke alarms.  “Every home is required by law to have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas,” said Bill Douglas, Fire Chief.   “These can be hard-wired or battery-operated depending on when your home was built. Both types are required to meet the same standard for smoke alarms, and both are equally effective and acceptable under the Ontario Fire Code.”

Residents are urged to test their smoke alarms every month.  Batteries should be replaced every year, and smoke alarms should be replaced if they are more than 10 years old.  When testing a hard-wired unit and the alarm fails to sound, it should be looked at right away.  If a battery-operated smoke alarm fails to sound, the battery should be re-installed correctly or replaced with a new one. If the alarm still doesn’t function properly, it should be replaced with a new smoke alarm.


In addition to having working smoke alarms, it is equally as important to develop a home fire escape plan, and to practice it with the entire household.   Simple steps for home fire escape planning include:


  • Determining who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults or anyone else that may require additional assistance to escape.
  • Making sure everyone knows two ways out of their residence.
  • Checking that all exits are unobstructed and easy to access.
  • Designating a meeting place outside the home, such as a tree or a lamp post, where everyone can be accounted for.
  • Calling fire/emergency services from outside the home, from a cell phone or neighbour’s home.
  • Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.

For people who live in apartment buildings and need assistance to escape:


  • Make sure you tell the superintendent or landlord if you need assistance.
  • Make sure your name is added to the persons who require assistance list in the fire safety plan, so the fire department knows which apartment you are in.
  • Know the emergency procedures outlined in the building’s fire safety plan.



Pickering Fire Services will inspect 3200 homes between the Victoria Day and Labour Day long weekends, as part of its annual Home Safety Program.  If residents cannot afford smoke alarms, or are unable to install them, Pickering Fire Services will supply and/or install them for free.


For more information or to request a free smoke alarm inspection by the Fire Prevention Section, please call 905.839.9968.

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