Smoke alarms are the cheapest and most effective way to save lives in the event of a fire, particularly at night while we are asleep. You must check to make sure it is working regularly. 

Are Montréal residents required to have a smoke alarm?

Yes. The By-law Concerning the Service de Sécurité Incendie de Montréal requires all Montrealers to have and maintain a working smoke alarm. A smoke alarm is essential to your safety and the safety of your family. 

What model should I buy?

Residential buildings in the Montréal agglomeration that were built before 1985 must be equipped with smoke alarms powered by a non-removable lithium battery with a lifespan of 10 years. The Building Chapter of Québec’s Safety Code requires buildings built after 1985 to have electric smoke detection components. If you install an electric fire alarm, it is recommended that you select a model with a backup battery in case of a power outage. To ensure that you comply with regulations for the fire alarm model you need to buy, please refer to the standards that are in effect for your building, which depend on when it was built or renovated.

There are two types of smoke alarms:

  • Ionization detectors, which are best adapted for rooms that contain highly combustible materials such as cooking oils, flammable liquids, cleaning solutions, etc. These devices react quickly to high-intensity fires. 
  • Photoelectric detectors, which react to fires that could be caused by a cigarette burning on a textile-covered surface such as a couch. The advantage of these devices is that they are less likely to react to false alarms from the kitchen or bathroom.

For optimal protection, you could buy a smoke alarm that combines both types.

Before buying your smoke alarm, make sure it is certified by the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada, a recognized standards and specifications organization. Another logo that you may see is CSA, which indicates that certain parts of the smoke alarm were manufactured according to CSA International standards.

Who is responsible for smoke alarm maintenance?

The occupant of a dwelling is responsible for maintaining the smoke alarm. 

How many smoke alarms do I need to install?

There must be at least one smoke alarm per floor, including the basement.

However, the article about maintenance and proper functioning of smoke alarms in the By-law concerning the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal in specific types of buildings (buildings that house people who need assistance to be evacuated) has been changed. Now, each room in which a person lives must be equipped with a smoke alarm that is connected to an electrical system.

Where should they be installed?

In the hallway, near bedrooms, in places where smoke would circulate if there were a fire. It can be attached to the ceiling at a distance of at least 10 cm from the wall or the top of the wall and 10 to 30 cm from the ceiling. 

How can I tell if it is working?

Just press the test button for a few seconds and listen for the beep. This should be done once a month.  

How long is a smoke alarm's lifespan?

Always check the manufacturer's instructions; there is an expiry date on the smoke alarm.