Smoke Alarm – Code requirements.

Why, Where, How many, Hardwired, Battery only, Interconnected, ...
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Smoke Alarm – Code requirements.

Post by admin » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:39 am

Smoke alarm is the best early warning in the event of a house fire. Residential fires account for 73% of all fire-related fatalities in Canada. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half. People who die in home fires, often die from breathing in smoke and toxic gases emitted from fire while they sleep.

Smoke alarm requirements were introduced in BC Building Code in 1979. Since then all new houses and multi-family dwellings were required to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed. Smoke alarms were permitted to be battery-operated if the dwelling unit was constructed before 1979.
Okay,...,So far it is straightforward.

When your building was built the current building code applied. After the occupancy the fire code took over, and in many cases the municipal fire bylaw. When you try to figure out the current requirements for your home it can turn into a really cumbersome research. You might want to find answers on how many smoke alarms are required, where to be located or where they should have been located, photoelectric or ionization type, hardwired or hardwired with battery backup, or maybe just battery operated version what you need ?

During the past 40 years building code, fire code, and local bylaws got changed numerous times, some of them retroactively changing on smoke alarm requirements. For instance in 2000, Vancouver Fire By-law 8191 required that existing multi-family dwelling buildings have
hard-wired smoke alarms installed retroactively, although existing single family homes remain exempted.
Note: Since 2012, BC building code requires smoke alarms to be installed in each bedroom of a home. This is in addition to the corridor outside the bedrooms, and to each storey including the basement.

In order to figure out what exactly applies to your home you need to spend some time in public library where you can gain access to the BC Fire Code. You also need to check whether your municipality has issued a bylaw that strengthen on the applicable code requirements.

Don not forget !
The lifespan of a typical smoke alarm is about 10 years, but some models last less. Since 2007 smoke alarm manufactures required to indicate the replacement date on their device. Back up batteries needs to be replaced minimum once a year but always check the manufacturer's instructions. And check your smoke alarm for recalls like: ... dvisories/

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