British Columbia

It's Fire Prevention Week. Do you know why your smoke detector makes different sounds?

The provincial government is reminding British Columbians to check the placement and working order of their smoke detectors during this year's Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 3-9.

Annual campaign runs Oct. 3-9; this year's theme is 'learn the sounds of fire safety'

Smoke detectors are not just there to be waved at with a tea towel when you burn dinner. Learning why they make certain sounds, and how to act on those sounds, could save your life. (r.classen/Shutterstock)

The provincial government is reminding British Columbians to check their smoke detectors during Fire Prevention Week, which runs until Oct. 9.

The annual campaign aims to educate people about simple and important things they can do to keep themselves safe from fire, with the theme this year being "learn the sounds of fire safety."

Understanding why your smoke detector makes certain sounds could be lifesaving. Different beeps mean different things, says Assistant Chief Brad Sifert with the Victoria Fire Department.

If the unit chirps every minute or so, Sifert says this indicates the batteries need replacing. If it chirps only occasionally, he says this means the unit itself needs to be replaced, which is usually required every 10 years.

Three loud beeps means the unit is working, it has detected smoke and the property should be evacuated.


Where you put your alarms is also critically important, Sifert told CBC's On The Island host Gregor Craigie.

He says homes should have a smoke detector on every floor and in every sleeping area. He says it's best not to put them near a shower or above a kitchen appliance to avoid false alarms.

There are also smoke alarms and devices that alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices include strobe lights that flash to alert people when the smoke alarm sounds. Pillow- or bed-shakers designed to work with smoke alarms can also be installed. 

Visit this link to learn more about devices for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

With files from On The Island

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