8 Smoke Detector & Fire Safety Tips

white smoke detector on the ceiling

Did you know that more than half of all fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.? The majority of residential fire-related deaths also occurred in homes where there was no working smoke detector or smoke alarm. People often forget about fire safety but keeping your family safe can be quite easy, so consider following our helpful tips.

1. Install A Smoke Detector

Technically, a smoke detector is different from a smoke alarm/fire alarm, but many people will interchange the terms. A smoke detector is part of an interconnected fire system, while a fire alarm or smoke alarm may be a stand-alone device. No matter what you call these devices, you need to install some of them in your home.

Depending on the size of your home, you will need to install more than one smoke detector or smoke alarm. It is recommended that you install a smoke detector in each bedroom of your house, as well as in hallways near sleeping areas. You also should have a smoke detector in your family room, the basement and your kitchen and the garage.

There are ionization smoke alarms and photoelectric smoke alarms, and each detects a different type of fire. It is crucial that you install both types or opt for units that combine both features. We sell all of the different types of smoke alarms and smoke detectors on our website.

2. Test Your Smoke Detector

A smoke detector or fire alarm is only helpful if it actually works. Ideally, you should push the test button of each device every month to ensure that they are working. It also recommended that you replace batteries in these devices twice per year. It can be easier to remember if you change out the batteries when the time changes in the spring and in the fall.

3. Store Several Fire Extinguishers

There are many types of fire extinguishers, but most homes in Toronto simply need multi-purpose ABC extinguishers as these will put out just about any type of fire you might have. This includes a kitchen grease fire as well as a fire started by a lit cigarette or an electrical fire.

As with a smoke detector, Toronto residents need to place fire extinguishers throughout their home. The kitchen and garage absolutely should have extinguishers in place, but we also recommend that you have a small extinguisher in each bathroom and each bedroom closet. Remember most fires happen at night while you are asleep in the bedroom. If there are flames coming through the hallway, an extinguisher can help make it easier for you to escape your home.

4. Learn To Use Your Extinguisher

An extinguisher is useless if you don’t know how to use it. Remember the acronym PASS: Pull the pin out; Aim the extinguisher; Squeeze the handle; and Sweep the extinguisher back and forth starting at the base of the fire. You also need to replace extinguishers before their expiration date and check your extinguishers from time to time to ensure that they are still charged and ready to go. Just look at the gauge on your extinguisher, if it’s still in the green area, it’s probably fine. If it’s in the red, it’s time to think about replacing the extinguisher.

5. Don’t Forget About A CO2 Detector

It’s not just smoke and fire that you need to worry about. Carbon monoxide poisoning causes more than 50 deaths per year in Canada. When you install a smoke detector or smoke alarm, be sure to also install a CO2 detector on every storey of your home. When you are completing your monthly test of all of your smoke detectors, be sure to check this device as well.

6. Learn How To Put Out Kitchen Fires

Kitchen fires are not uncommon, but do you know what to if a fire starts? You can always use an extinguisher to stop a kitchen fire, but there are other options to consider, especially if your extinguisher will take time to access. If the fire is contained to a pan, cover the pan with a lid or cookie sheet and shut off the heat. For a grease fire, you can drop salt or baking soda onto the flames, but never use water or any other type of liquid, as this actually can cause the fire to spread. Most importantly, stay calm and act quickly. If you cannot put out the fire, leave your house immediately and call 9-1-1.

7. Consider Your Electrical System

In the Greater Toronto Area, many older homes have outdated electrical systems. If you have a home with a knob & tube electrical system, it’s probably time to think about upgrading. These systems can be quite dangerous, and we can provide you with knob & tube replacement services and upgrade your system so that it can handle your current electrical needs. We also can add outlets so that you don’t have to use power strips and extension cords to handle all of your electrical devices and this also can increase your overall fire safety.

8. Sweep That Chimney

As the weather begins to turn colder, this is a good time to attend to many household chores. This includes cleaning your gutters, putting up storm windows and hiring someone to clean your chimney. Fireplace issues cause hundreds of house fires each year, and many of these could have been prevented if the homeowner had hired a chimney sweep. It also is crucial that you have a smoke detector in any room with a fireplace, and if possible, keep a fire extinguisher in the room as well. If you don’t want the extinguisher to be visible, just store it in a cupboard.

At Tesla Fire Systems, we can provide you with everything from an extinguisher to a carbon monoxide detector to a smoke detector. Toronto residents also can use the team at Tesla for any electrical repairs and upgrades. We are an ESA/ACP contractor with more than 50 years of experience. If you need fire safety products, you can shop online or call us today and we can advise you which products might be the best fit for your home. We also provide fire safety services for businesses throughout the GTA.