Featured Injury Prevention

When should you replace your smoke alarms?

Sybil Millar
Written by Sybil Millar

Do you know how old your smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced? Did you even know that smoke alarms need to be replaced at all? If not, you aren’t alone. A recent survey found that 90% of people didn’t know that smoke alarms have an expiry date.

“We know that every year fire kills 400 people in Canada, and the majority of these deaths occur in the home,” says Joanne Banfield, Manager of Trauma Injury Prevention at Sunnybrook.

With National Fire Prevention Week happening this week, the National Fire Protection Association is reminding everyone that smoke alarms don’t last forever. In fact, they need to be replaced every 10 years.

Not sure how old your alarms are? Simply remove the alarm from the wall or ceiling, and look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm. If the alarm is more than 10 years old, replace it with a new one. If it’s less than 10 years old, you can put it back – just be sure to replace the batteries before you do.

Having working smoke alarms in your home is the best way to alert you to a fire, and will help get you and your family safely out of the home (and keep you out of the hospital!). Test your alarms monthly by pressing the test button to ensure they are functioning properly. Remember, it’s the law to have working smoke alarms on every story of your home and outside of sleeping areas.

About the author

Sybil Millar

Sybil Millar

Sybil Millar is the Communications Advisor for Infection Prevention and Control, Infectious Diseases, the Ross Tilley Burn Centre and the Critical Care program at Sunnybrook.

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