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Is your smoke alarm working?

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By Chelsea Watt

We all remember our smoke alarms each time we leave bread in the toaster too long. But will your smoke alarm be there when you really need it?

A new campaign launched by Len Garis, President of the Fire Chief's Association of B.C., and Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, is aimed at ensuring that every home in British Columbia has a working smoke alarm.

The reason is simple. Smoke alarms do a lot more than point out your culinary mishaps.

Smoke alarms save lives

  • A study by Surrey Fire Services and the University of the Fraser Valley shows that almost 70 per cent of houses that caught fire didn't have a functioning smoke alarm.
  • The research predicts that working smoke alarms could reduce annual fire deaths by as much as 32 per cent.
  • The research findings also indicate the province's most vulnerable populations — including children and the elderly — face the highest risk of dying in a residential fire.

Use your smoke alarm properly

Ensuring that you have smoke alarms and that they're working properly could save your life.

  • Place the smoke alarms near where you sleep, with at least one alarm on every level of your home.
  • Test your alarm monthly by pushing the test button. Once a year, use a smoldering cotton string or incense until the smoke makes the alarm sound.
  • Replace your smoke detector at least every 10 years.
  • Unless your alarm uses 10-year lithium batteries, change the batteries annually. Use a recurring date, like the Daylight Savings time change, to help you remember.

Spread the word

Help keep your family and friends safe in the event of a fire — spread the word about the campaign. Watch for further information from the Fire Chief's Association of B.C. throughout the year.

Check out the campaign videos: