Smoke Alarms

smoke alarm change clocks and batteriesSaanich's Fire Prevention and Life Safety Bylaw requires smoke alarms be installed, tested and maintained in all existing and new residential buildings in Saanich.

Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.

A working smoke alarm doubles your chances of surviving a fire. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths are in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms – usually because batteries are dead, disconnected or missing.

Installing and testing your smoke alarms

Saanich's Fire Prevention and Life Safety Bylaw requires that existing residential buildings not presently equipped with smoke alarms, the OWNER is required to install and maintain at least one working smoke alarm on every level or storey of a dwelling unit on which a sleeping room is located, and in every sleeping room not within a dwelling unit.

Smoke alarms may be connected to an electrical circuit or may be battery powered. Battery powered alarms shall be equipped with an alarm pause button which when used will temporarily reduce the alarm's sensitivity to smoke.

For all residential buildings:smoke alarm test

  • The OWNER is required to test the smoke alarm function at least once every 12 months.
  • The OWNER shall install new batteries in each battery powered smoke alarm at least once every 12 months.
  • The OWNER shall immediately replace or repair any smoke alarm which, upon testing, fails to perform correctly.

Safety Tips 

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home, including the basement.
  • Smoke alarms should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 metres) from the stove.
  • Test all smoke alarms every month by pushing the test button.
  • Change smoke alarm batteries every six months. or purchase smoke alarms with a sealed ten year battery.
  • Hardwired smoke alarms require a battery backup in case of power outage.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are ten years old.

A Working Smoke Alarm in Every Home

As part of the goals for the Saanich Fire Department and the BC Office of the Fire Commissioner to achieve a working smoke alarm in every home, we are available to assist residents who may have difficulty checking, installing or maintaining their smoke alarms. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please email us or call (250) 475-5500.