Smoke alarms


A working smoke alarm is a basic, fundamental requirement for home fire safety. We are most vulnerable to fire when we sleep. A working smoke alarm provides the protection required.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service recommends that all residences have at least one functioning smoke alarm installed up high between the bedrooms and the living area. The devices can be purchased at most home goods stores and take only minutes to install.

If you are a renter, it is your landlord’s responsibility to install and maintain a working smoke alarm in your residential rental property, as per Fire Prevention By-Law 35-2017.

We recommend that you test your alarms monthly. If your alarm requires batteries, they should be changed one each year. Many alarms come equipped with a lithium-ion battery, which typically lasts 10 years - the life of the alarm. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions before installing your alarm or replacing batteries.

Types of smoke alarms

There are several different types of smoke alarms available on the market. We recommend that at least one ionization and one photoelectric smoke alarm be installed in all residential dwellings to provide early warning from any type of fire.

Ionization smoke alarms

This type of smoke alarm is the most common smoke alarm installed in homes. It detects a fast burning fire, such as paper or flammable liquids.

Photoelectric smoke alarms

This type of smoke alarm is an optical alarm that uses infrared light and a photoelectric receiver to detect smoke in the air. This typically detects smoldering fires where there is a lot of smoke but very little flame. An example would be a sofa burning as a result of a cigarette falling between the cushions.

Combination ionization & photoelectric

This type of smoke alarm uses both scientific methods to detect smoke; however, many of them do no bear the ULC or CSA label and may not have undergone testing to ensure they meet the ULC standards for smoke alarms. Do no purchase or install one that does not bear one or both of these labels.

Smoke alarm installation

Our SAFE Family (Smoke Alarm For Every Family) program supplies and installs smoke alarms in owner-occupied households not equipped with a working smoke alarm. If a homeowner does not have the resources to supply and/or install their own smoke alarm for any reason they can apply to have one provided by the program.

Request smoke alarm installation

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