Every year, lives are lost in our city during fires in places where smoke alarms were either not installed, or not working properly. Don't take unnecessary risks, protect yourself and your family!  Smoke alarms remain the most effective and inexpensive way to warn occupants in case of a fire.

How to check your smoke alarm

The best practice is to check your smoke alarms monthly. To do so, press down the test button for a few seconds, until you hear the alarm. If your smoke alarm is linked to an alarm company, you should inform them first that you plan on testing your system. Every week, make sure that the indicator light is on to show that the unit is working properly. For an electrically powered model, check the condition of the power cables and connections. Test the alarms and ensure that the interconnection and backup power are working properly. In order to avoid triggering the smoke alarm unnecessarily, place the device away from cooking appliances, dusty places, bathrooms, fans, etc.

Maintenance tips

  • Clean the device by lightly vacuuming its casing, so as to prevent accumulated dust from setting off the alarm.
  • Never paint over a smoke alarm. 
  • Never cover your smoke alarm with any material. 
  • If your smoke alarm sounds off too often, place it further away from whatever triggers it, in keeping with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Smoke alarms must be replaced ten years after they are manufactured. If there is no manufacturing date on the smoke alarm, it must be replaced immediately.


The municipal by-law in this regard makes it mandatory for Montrealers to equip their residence with smoke alarms. In the case of apartment buildings, the owner must also install smoke alarms on every storey of the building’s common areas, and replace them latest 10 years after their manufacturing date. As for occupants, they are responsible for the maintenance and installation of fire alarms in their respective dwelling units or homes.

In apartment buildings, rooming houses or condominiums, smoke alarms must be tested for proper operation and the results recorded at least once a year.

Since June 20, 2019, under by-law RCG 12-003, residents of a building built before 1985 must install a fire alarm powered by a long-lasting, non-removable lithium battery having a life span of 10 years. Buildings built after 1985 must be equipped with smoke alarms that are linked to an electrical system. 

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