Find out if your home needs a fire alarm system, how to take care of it, and what to do if the alarm sounds.

Many buildings have a fire alarm system that sounds an alarm throughout the building when it detects the beginning of a fire or its very first manifestations. Your building should have a fire alarm system if one of the following applies:

  • The building has more than three storeys, including the basement. 
  • It is a residential building where more than 10 people sleep. 
  • The building has at least five dwelling that share the same indoor exits. 


The fire alarm system must be inspected and tested at least once a year, or as soon as a defect or malfunction becomes apparent. Repairs must be performed by a specialized, independent company registered with the Régie du bâtiment du Québec. These companies can usually be found in the phone book under fire alarms, fire safety or fire protection. 

What to do

The fire alarm has handles (red levers on the walls in the hallway) for manual activation. As soon as you detect any sign of fire, you must activate the fire alarm by pulling down one of the red levers to sound the alarm throughout the building. 

When the fire alarm sounds, you must immediately evacuate the building and go to a safe place outside. You must then call 911 to alert emergency services.

It is prohibited for occupants and even building owners or managers to interrupt an alarm signal or reset a sounding alarm. Only firefighters can stop or reset the alarm system.