Highest number of fire deaths in 20 years prompts Mississauga, other communities to test smoke alarms

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Published September 19, 2023 at 3:52 pm

Test smoke alarms in Mississauga and across Ontario

The highest number of fire-related deaths in more than two decades in Ontario has prompted Mississauga and other communities to band together to drive home one safety message in particular to people — make sure all smoke alarms are working.

Last year across the province, more than 130 people perished in deadly fires and fire officials in Mississauga and elsewhere say many of those deaths could have been prevented if people had ample warning to get out of their homes or buildings in time.

The Ontario-wide death toll was the highest in more than 20 years, officials say.

“The high fatality rate is cause for concern as many of these deaths could have been prevented if there was a working smoke alarm,” Mississauga fire officials said in a news release announcing their participation in  Ontario’s first-ever Test Your Smoke Alarm Day, to take place on Sept. 28 across the province.

On that day, fire officials in Mississauga and across Ontario urge everyone to test smoke alarms in their homes and businesses to make sure they’re working.

“Smoke alarms save lives. Test Your Smoke Alarm Day is a reminder for us all to double-check our smoke alarms. This small action could save someone’s life during a fire,” said Mississauga Fire Chief Deryn Rizzi. “I ask all Mississauga residents to push the test button on their smoke alarms to see if they are working. You might need to install a new alarm or need to put in new batteries.”

Rizzi also urged residents to help others, such as older adults and those with mobility issues, test their smoke alarms.

The Mississauga fire chief had a similar safety message for residents early in 2022 after a spate of deadly house fires across Ontario took 17 lives in the first month alone.

For more information on Test Your Smoke Alarm Day, visit savedbythebeep.ca.

Fire officials add that, with smoke alarms, remember:

  • you need to follow the law. Smoke alarms must be installed on every storey of a residence in Ontario, including vacation homes, cabins, trailers, RVs and cottages
  • property owners must test alarms every year, after the battery is replaced, and after every change in tenancy. Renters are also responsible for notifying their property owners as soon as they become aware that a smoke alarm is not operating
  • smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month. In addition, replace smoke alarms every 10 years, according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • there are many types of smoke alarms. Smoke alarms can be hard-wired, battery operated or both. If you need to replace a single malfunctioning alarm, make sure the new alarm is compatible with the existing units
  • do not remove the battery if a smoke alarm starts beeping frequently due to cooking, baking or using the shower

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