Spring forward: Change your clock (on Saturday night) – and test your smoke alarm!

CITY of Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis is reminding residents of the simple, life-saving habit of changing and testing the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. With clocks springing forward on Sunday, March 8 it’s a simple and effective reminder to make this potentially lifesaving check.

“While timekeeping is a vital part of our lives and we all keep our clocks working to stay on track, it’s surprising that many people forget to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones by keeping their smoke alarm in the same working order,” said Garis. “We urge all Surrey residents to test their smoke alarms when daylight savings time starts this Sunday, and change worn devices and batteries right away.”

Every home in British Columbia is required to have a working smoke alarm. It’s the law! As well, smoke alarms are also required to be replaced every 10 years to ensure they are operational.

In Surrey, fire services have expanded their internationally-recognized HomeSafe program, by increasing awareness and providing free smoke alarm installations. As well as continually monitoring outcomes and treating the highest risk homes and vulnerable populations such as seniors and low-income families, Surrey Firefighters have visited nearly 40,000 homes and engaged residents in food bank and tax payment line-ups on the importance of a working smoke alarm.

Their persistence and persuasion have produced these impressive results: Fifty-three per cent (53%) of residential fires in 2014 were reported to have a working smoke alarm, compared to only 28.5 per cent in 2010. This is a remarkable 86% improvement. Surrey Firefighter’s president Mike McNamara believes strongly in reaching out to the community: “Surrey firefighters believe in the importance of engaging vulnerable sectors of the population with progressive initiatives such as this. The results speak for themselves.”

Quick tips on testing smoke alarms:

* Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.

* Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

* Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

* Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.

* Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.

* Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

* When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.

To request a free HomeSafe Inspection or smoke alarm installation visit:


Or call 604-543-6780 for details.