Fire Prevention Week 2021

Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week: October 3-9th, 2021

As Fire Prevention Week approaches, the Office of the Fire Marshal reminds residents to “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!” That is the message fire and life safety educators in the Northwest Territories will be promoting during Fire Prevention Week 2021.

The focus of this year’s campaign is to educate NWT residents about the different sounds the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make. Knowing what to do when an alarm sounds will keep you and your family safe. When an alarm makes noises – a beeping sound or a chirping sound – you must take action.

Is there a beep or a chirp coming out of your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? What does it all mean? Knowing the difference can save you, your home, and your family! Make sure everyone in the home understands the sounds of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and knows how to respond. Learn the sounds of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by checking the user guide or search the brand and model online.

Below are some general safety tips about Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms.

Smoke Alarms

  • A continued set of three loud beeps—beep, beep, beep—means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
  • A single “chirp” every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
  • All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

  • A continuous set of four loud beeps—beep, beep, beep, beep—means carbon monoxide is present in your home. Go outside, call 9-1-1 and stay out.
  • A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.
  • CO alarms also have “end of life” sounds that vary by manufacturer. This means it’s time to get a new CO alarm.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms? Why do I need both?

Smoke alarms sense smoke well before you can, alerting you to danger. In the event of fire, you may have as little as 2 minutes to escape safely, which is why it’s important to have smoke alarms installed in bedrooms, outside of the sleeping areas (like a hallway), and on each level (including the basement). Do not put smoke alarms in your kitchen or bathrooms.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that displaces oxygen in your body and brain and can render you unconscious before you even realize something is happening to you. Without vital oxygen, you are at risk of death from carbon monoxide poisoning in a short time. CO alarms detect the presence of carbon monoxide and alert you so you can get out, call 9-1-1, and let the professionals check your home.

How do I know which smoke and CO alarm to choose for my home?

Choose an alarm that is listed with a certified Canadian testing laboratory, meaning it has met certain standards for protection. Whether you select a unit that requires yearly changing of batteries, or a 10-year unit that you change out at the end of the 10 years, either will provide protection.

CO alarms also have a battery backup. For the best protection, use combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. These can be installed by a qualified electrician, so that when one sounds, they all sound. This ensures you can hear the alarm no matter where in your home the alarm originates.


Resources for Schools, Parents and Caregivers

Resources for Fire Departments

* Reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week website. © 2021 NFPA.