June 20, 2024
Smoke Alarm Safety Facts & Tips

Smoke Alarm Safety Facts & Tips

A working smoke alarm is important to any home Fire Safety Plan. Fire and smoke can spread rapidly, having a working smoke alarm alerts you early so your family can get outside quickly. A working smoke alarm will increase your chances of surviving a house fire by 74%.


  • Smoke alarms are mandatory in all dwellings under the British Columbia Fire Code. All homes, sleeping rooms within boarding and lodging houses, hotels, and recreational cabins are required to be protected by smoke alarms.
  • Dwellings constructed before the B.C. Building Code required smoke alarms in 1979 are also required to have a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms are permitted to be battery operated in a dwelling unit constructed before the March 31, 1979, British Columbia Building Code inception date or in a building which is not supplied with electrical power.
  • Dwelling units constructed after the 1979 building code changes require the smoke alarms to be permanently wired to the home’s electrical system and interconnected.


  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom as well as outside each sleeping area. They should be located on every floor of the home including the basement.
  • A smoke alarm should be on ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms 10 feet (3 Meters) if possible, from stove to reduce false alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. This means when one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • Take a moment once a month and press the test button on your alarm to ensure that it still functioning.
  • If your alarm is battery powered, change the batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
  • Every 10 years, replace your smoke alarms with new units. Even hardwired alarms need changing every decade.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms that have strobe lights and/or bed shakers.

Free Smoke Alarm Installation

The Mill Bay Fire Department is committed to ensuring that all of the citizens of our Protection District are protected by a functioning smoke alarm. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have working smoke alarms in my home?
  • Do I have the means or know-how to install my own a smoke alarm?
  • Does my smoke alarm sound when I push the test button?
  • Have I changed my smoke alarm(s) within the last 10 years?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions is and you live in a single-family mobile-home, house, duplex, or apartment within our fire protection district you can contact the Mill Bay Fire Department to install a free smoke alarm. This device will ensure that you and your family are protected until you can have your existing interconnected hard-wired alarms serviced by a professional electrician. Please email fpo@mbfd.ca or call us at 250-743-5563 and a member of the department will be in touch to schedule your smoke alarm installation.

Testing your Smoke Alarm

It is important to routinely test your smoke alarms to make sure they are working. Ensure your smoke alarms are working by following these best practices:

Recycling Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are not eligible for CVRD curbside recycling program however,  Fisher Road Recycling does accept them. 

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