Smoke Detectors Save Lives

The first line of defence

In the event of fire, properly installed and maintained smoke detectors can help save lives by giving early warning and allowing sufficient time for occupants to reach safety. All smoke detectors advertized and sold in Canada are regulated under the Hazardous Products Act, and required to meet performance requirements set out in standards developed by the Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC). It is the responsibility of manufacturers, importers and retailers of smoke detectors to ensure that their units comply with the requirements of the appropriate ULC standards.

The two types of smoke detectors

The ionization-type of smoke detector is generally better suited for detecting fast, flaming fires which consume combustible materials rapidly and spread quickly. Sources of fires may include paper burning in a waste basket or a grease fire in the kitchen. These type of fires account for 70% of home fires.

The photoelectric-type of smoke detector is generally better suited for detecting slow, smouldering fires which may smoulder for hours before bursting into flame. Sources of these fires may include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding. These type of fires account for 30% of home fires.
General tips on smoke detectors
Make sure the smoke detectors in your home are in good operating condition.

For a rapid response to any kind of fire, consumers may want to consider installing both types of smoke detectors, or one which incorporates both technologies, i.e. the ionization-type and the photoelectric-type.

Ensure that smoke detectors are installed as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Replace smoke detectors which are more than 10 years old.

If battery operated, replace the battery according to the manufacturer's instructions. (Change batteries at least twice a year spring and fall when you change your clocks)
Test and clean your smoke detectors according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, including the basement, especially near or in bedrooms.
Develop and practise an escape plan in the event of a house fire. Your escape plan should include a meeting point.

If you have any questions regarding your particular model, contact the manufacturer or importer of your unit. Manufacturers usually maintain a 1-800 number for customer inquiries.


Every year in Canada, fires are started because candles are left burning with no one watching. Fires are caused when flames from burning candles touch nearby curtains, party decorations or clothing. Also, fires are started when the candle wax gets so hot it catches fire.

Keep matches, lighters and burning candles out of reach of children.

NEVER leave burning candles unattended.
Cut the candle wick short to prevent a high flame.
Candles with more than one wick close to one another are not safe and should not be used.
Place candles where they can't be knocked down.
Don't place burning candles on or near anything that can catch fire.

Candle Holders:
Use sturdy candle holders that won't easily tip over.
Place candles firmly in candle holders.
Don't use wood or plastic candle holders, they can catch fire. Metal candle holders are safer.
Be careful with glass candle holders, they can break if the candle flame gets too hot.




Burning Candles