Saanich Fire issues reminder on replacing smoke alarms

'Don’t wait - check the date. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years' is the theme of Fire Prevention Week

In the midst of Fire Prevention Week, the Saanich Fire Department is reminding residents that smoke alarms don’t last forever.

A recent survey conducted by the National Fire Protection Association revealed that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced. That lack of awareness is a concern for the Saanich Fire Department, along with fire departments throughout the region, because smoke alarms don’t last forever.

“Time and again, I’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” said Saanich Fire public education officer Jerry Tomljenovic. “That’s why we’re making a concerted effort to educate Saanich residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit.”

National fire codes require smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk.

The Saanich Fire Department is promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign: “Don’t wait – check the date. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years,” to better educate the public about the critical importance of knowing how old their smoke alarms are and replacing them once they’re 10 years old. Fire Prevention Week runs through Saturday.

To find out how old your smoke alarm is and its expiration date, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase). The Saanich Fire Department also says smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and that batteries should be replaced once a year or when they begin to chirp, signalling that they’re running low.

For more information on smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, visit the fire prevention and safety webpage at www.saanich.ca.