Did you know that the chance of a house fire fatality is reduced by half if you have working smoke alarms? Or that nearly 40,000 pets lose their lives in home fires annually? Keep your family, including your pets, safe from potential fires by checking all of the smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home regularly.
If your smoke or CO alarm isn’t working or is over 10 years old, replace it and recycle the old one!
How often should I check and replace my smoke/CO alarms?
Though it may be tempting to leave your alarm unchecked and assume it still works, it’s not worth the risk! According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cooking is the number one cause of home fires and fire-related injuries every year. That’s a daily family activity—one that can be made safer with working smoke alarms.
Checking your alarm works takes just a few minutes:
Once a month, test all alarms in your home to make sure they’re working properly. Usually, they will have a button which you can press to test the alarm.
Once a year, replace the batteries in your alarms to ensure your alarms continue to detect smoke and CO levels in your home. We suggest timing this with an annual event, like a birthday or holiday. Reminder: old batteries can be recycled too!
Once a decade, replace and recycle your old alarm to reduce the chance of failure due to deterioration or age.
My alarm isn’t working! How do I recycle it?
There are more than 200 recycling locations across British Columbia where you can drop off your old, expired or broken smoke alarms for free. Find your nearest location using our Recycling Locator tool. In other provinces, contact your local recycling agency or municipality to see if there is a recycling program near you.
When you recycle your smoke alarm, the plastics and metal parts are recycled into new products. The radioactive cell some alarms have is safely removed and put into long-term storage.
How else can I fire-proof my home?
Two of our other favourite tips are:
- Create an escape plan for you, your family, and/or your pets.
- Buy a fire extinguisher for every level of your home. Make sure you know how to use them and where they’re stored!