Playing With Fire: Majority Of Canadians (55%) Have Removed Batteries Or Tampered With Smoke Alarms Due To False Alarm

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Half of those (51%) have forgotten to put batteries back in or re-install smoke alarm on ceiling: Ipsos Reid Poll

March 4, 2008 Toronto, ON – It appears that many Canadian homeowners could be playing with fire, with a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and Kidde Canada, revealing that a majority of Canadians (55%) who currently own and live in a house that is at least ten years old indicate that they have ‘temporarily removed the batteries from a smoke
alarm or taken it off the ceiling to silence a false alarm caused by cooking or steam’. Moreover, over one half (51%) of these individuals admit that they have forgotten to put the batteries back in or to hook the alarm back up, whether it be only for a ‘short period of time’ (40%) or for ‘quite a long time’ (11%).

But when it comes to their homes, most Canadians appear to be taking some strides to ensuring their fire safety. In fact, six in ten (62%) say they change the batteries in their smoke alarms at least twice a year.

Moving past the simple task of replacing batteries, though, the data reveal that many
Canadians seem unaware of the necessity of changing the actual smoke alarm unit and not just the battery. More specifically, four in ten (37%) believe that battery-operated smoke alarms last for as long as they live in their house, provided that the batteries are changed regularly, and a similar proportion (35%) thinks that smoke alarms that are wired into their home’s electrical system never need to be replaced.

But while three quarters (74%) suggest that pushing the test button on a smoke alarm and hearing a response means that the alarm is working properly and does not need to be replaced, three quarters (77%) also agree that smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years, even if they still seem to be working correctly.

As well, it would appear as though there is some confusion as to where smoke alarms should be placed, with most indicating that they have a smoke alarm outside their main level sleeping
areas (90%), basement or lower level (87%), or outside a 2nd or 3rd story sleeping areas (84%), a much lower proportion however, suggests that they have an alarm in their living or family room (54%), kitchen (47%) or in their garage (10%).

These are the finding of an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted on behalf of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and Kidde Canada, a leading smoke alarm company from 02/14 to 02/19, 2008. This online survey of 2233 individuals was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos-Reid’s national online panel.

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada’s market intelligence leader, the country’s leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. To learn more, please visit