Have you ever wondered why most home fire deaths happen at night, while people are sleeping? The answer is as plain as the nose on your face, in fact, it is your nose! When you go to sleep your nose goes to sleep; and, as funny as that may sound, it is also the reason working smoke alarms save lives.
National research shows that the number one cause of home fires is “unattended” stove top cooking; however, this is not the number one cause of home fire deaths. This is because, thankfully, occupants and their noses usually remain awake when they are cooking. They smell the smoke at the earliest stage of a fire and are reminded that they’ve left something on the stove – unattended.
Who, if not your working smoke alarm, is going to smell the smoke from a fire when you are sleeping?
Protecting you, 24/7, working smoke alarms can cut the chance of dying in a home fire nearly in half. They provide the extra critical time you need to escape safely.
Where to Install:
What to Do if Your Smoke Alarms Activate:
Where to Install:
It’s the Law - required locations for smoke alarms in your home
The National Fire Code of Canada (NFC) requires that, at a minimum, you have working smoke alarms installed between each sleeping area and the remainder of your home.
However, this minimum requirement only applies to older homes and is no longer considered adequate protection. Fires today are more dangerous and pose more risks than in the past.
Because of what we know today (resulting from the many tragic and needless fire deaths over the years) codes have changed.
Key smoke alarm code changes:
1980 – 1995
Wired (can be battery operated if no electricity to the building) and interconnected (if one sounds they all sound) and installed on or near the ceiling between each sleeping area and the remainder of the home.
1995 – 2010
Wired (can be battery operated if no electricity to the building) and interconnected (if one sounds they all sound) and installed on or near the ceiling between each sleeping area and the remainder of the home (within 5 m of, or inside each bedroom) and at least one on each storey, including basements (travel distance not >15 m).
2010 – Present
Wired (can be battery operated if no electricity to the building) and interconnected (if one sounds they all sound) and have a battery back-up in case of a power outage and be installed on or near the ceiling inside each sleeping room and at least one on each storey, including basements.
Why do codes now require interconnected smoke alarms inside sleeping rooms?
Research shows that:
Smoke alarms do not reliably wake children.
Smoke alarms do not reliably wake adults under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Smoke alarms do not reliably wake many seniors.
Smoke alarms do not reliably wake persons with a mild to moderate hearing impairment or those who are deaf.
Research also shows that:
Keeping your bedroom door closed when you are sleeping could mean the difference between life and death in the event of a house fire. Close before You Doze!
Put 1 & 2 together and you’ve got a no brainer – install interconnected smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every floor, including the basement; and, sleep with your bedroom door closed.
Manufacturer's Instructions - placement of smoke alarms within a room or floor area in your home
Once you have determined where (which floors and rooms) you are going to be installing your smoke alarms you must now refer to and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install them.
Manufacturer’s instructions provide essential information specific to the smoke alarm you are installing including how to install (mounting hardware) and where to place. Key details are included such as locations to avoid, distances to heating appliances or kitchens, how to avoid dead air space, distances from obstructions such as ceiling fans or lighting fixtures and where to place in areas with high ceilings or stairwells. These details can all affect the ability of your smoke alarm system to protect you and your family should a fire occur. Smoke alarms need to be installed properly so they can function as designed.
Following installation be sure to keep the manufacturer’s instructions handy and in a safe location for future reference on your smoke alarms function and maintenance requirements. If you sell your home pass these instructions on to the new home owners - they too will need to know the type of smoke alarms in the home, how to maintain them and what the warning sounds and indicator lights mean.