Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

It's the law to have working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Smoke alarms can increase your chances of surviving a fire by up to 50 per cent. 

Place carbon monoxide and smoke alarms throughout your work and home. Choose models that plug right into electrical outlets, and for areas where plug-ins aren't present, select battery-powered models for added convenience. There are also some units using wireless connections, providing a wider range of coverage, ideal structures like large factories and warehouses. Carbon monoxide detectors have expiry dates like smoke alarms, so make sure you check and clean them regularly.

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning

In Ontario, over 80 per cent of all carbon monoxide (CO) deaths and injuries occur in homes. CO poisoning may cause the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of consciousness

If you or anyone in your home has any of these symptoms, get everyone, including pets, outside to fresh air immediately and call 9-1-1.

Maintaining smoke alarms

Take the following steps to maintain your smoke alarms:

  • Test your smoke alarms every month
  • Change alarm batteries at least once a year and whenever the low battery warning chirps (when you change your clocks, change your batteries)
  • Vacuum your alarms to clean out dust at least once a year
    • For battery-operated alarms, open the cover of the alarm and gently vacuum the inside with a soft bristle brush
    • For electrically powered alarms, first shut off the power to the unit and then gently vacuum the outside vents of the alarm only (don't forget to turn the power back on and test the alarm)
  • Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years