The President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services says very few people know about a law dictating the placement of smoke detectors.

Vince MacKenzie said that as of April 2012, every bedroom in every home or apartment in the province is required to have a smoke detector.

"Basically everybody who's listening — if you're not sleeping underneath a smoke alarm, when you close your eyes at night if you're not looking up at the ceiling and able to see a smoke alarm, you're contrary to the regulations," MacKenzie said.

He said the new rule can be enforced during inspections, particularly in rental units and new construction projects.

Prior to the new regulations, alarms were required on each level on a home, outside of sleeping quarters.

"At today's combustibility and the rate the fires grow and progress, it's been determined that there isn't enough time. You need a smoke alarm in your bedroom to protect yourself."

Fires are so rapid, MacKenzie said, that seconds count.

"All furnishings are made of synthetic and plastic materials, and when they burn they don't smolder any more — they burn with a fury."

MacKenzie has been urging people to obey the regulations.