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Saved by the Beep


NORTH DURHAM: How often do you check your smoke alarm? September 28th is Ontario’s first Test Your Smoke Alarm Day. It’s important to test your smoke alarms regularly because, one day, that beep may save your life.

“Fires burn hotter and faster than ever before,” said Scugog Township Fire Chief, Mark Berney.

In 2022, there were about 133 fire fatalities within Ontario. The highest number of fire-related fatalities firefighters have seen in 20 years.

“Having working smoke alarms is your best chance to keep you and your family safe in the event of a fire,” explained Chief Berney. “In addition to working smoke alarms, families are encouraged to have and practice a home escape plan.”

Whether your smoke alarm is powered by batteries or hard-wired, you can test it by pressing the ‘test’ button. This button can usually be found on the top of your device. Once you have pressed the ‘test’ button, the alarm should make a loud beep.

If you complete the test on your smoke alarm and find the device isn’t working, you can do a few things. If your alarm is less than a decade old, and is powered by batteries, simply replace the batteries. Chief Berney suggests having the power to the alarm’s detector checked out, for hard-wired devices.

When replacing an entire smoke alarm unit, you must replace it with the same type which was there before. You should replace batteries within your smoke alarms at least once a year. Or you can do this whenever the “low battery” warning goes off – making a chirping noise.

Do not remove the batteries if you have a noisy smoke alarm which activates whenever you’re cooking or showering. Instead, try relocating the device.

You can also buy another device with a “hush” feature, or you can replace devices near your kitchen with a photoelectric smoke alarm.

Homeowners must install a smoke alarm on every floor in their homes. And they must maintain the smoke alarms and check if they are working efficiently. Ideally, you should test your smoke alarm once a month.

“Smoke alarms don’t last forever,” said Chief Berney. “They wear out and need to be replaced every 10 years.”

You can also install a working smoke alarm inside every bedroom for added protection.

To learn more about the importance of testing your smoke alarms, please visit

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