Sarnia-Lambton residents are being encouraged to test their smoke alarms as part of a provincewide campaign called "Saved by the Beep."
In 2022, 133 people died in Ontario, marking the highest number of deadly fires in over 20 years.
“Entire families have been lost to fire and the most troubling part is that the majority of these fires did not have a working smoke alarm in the home," said Ontario Fire Marshal Jon Pegg. "Had there been working smoke alarms, and a well thought out and practiced home fire escape plan, these deaths may have been prevented.”
Smoke alarms are legally required to be installed on every storey of a residence in Ontario.
Sarnia Fire Rescue Services' Public Education Officer Mike Otis said when responding to a call, they often come across homes without working alarms.
"Obviously smoke alarms are important because they can save your life but they are also law in Ontario, it's [a fine of] $360 per alarm that you're missing," said Otis. "Even with the fines there and knowing that they could save your life, we still have compliance issues in cities everywhere."
Otis said smoke alarms should be tested once per month, batteries should be changed at least once per year, and smoke alarms (including hardwired alarms) should be replaced every 10 years."
Sarnia Fire has been promoting the province-wide initiative through social media. Local firefighters also took part in a recent Saved By The Beep skit, a play on the former TV series Saved By The Bell.
Otis said residents are also encouraged to send their own pictures and videos via social media, showcasing fun and creative ways to test their smoke alarms.