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Fire Safety & Preparedness

Fire is the most common emergency in Canada, and property losses are estimated to be in the billions each year. But, according to the Red Cross, two-thirds of Canadians admit they have not taken steps to prepare for or help prevent a fire. Rely on HD Supply for all your fire safety supplies and fire prevention products such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and more to help save lives and protect your property.

Common Causes of Fire

Smoking causes the most fatalities in apartment fires. Encourage outdoor smoking by providing smoking receptacles for residents, guests, and staff. Unattended cooking and heaters are two other common causes of fire. In most cases, residents forget about foods cooking on the stovetop or leave paper and clothing too close to a heater and it ignites.


Fire Safety Prepare

According to the Red Cross, you may only have two minutes to escape a rapidly spreading fire, so it's important to be prepared. In addition to having an emergency escape plan in place, every apartment complex, hotel, healthcare facility, or business should also have working smoke alarms and fire safety supplies such as fire extinguishers and burn kits available.

Stay safe with these tips:

  • Establish a fire safety plan so everyone knows what to do
  • Conduct regular fire drills
  • Install and regularly inspect smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Attach FireStop fire suppressors over stovetops
  • Provide fire extinguishers and train staff on proper use


Fire Safety Respond to a Fire

Early warning is critical to ensure everyone's safety. One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect lives and property is to install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Knowing which alarms are best for your property, where to install them, and how to maintain them is important.

Ionization vs. Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are an essential fire safety tool. While the fire itself is terrifying, smoke inhalation is equally as dangerous. Working smoke alarms substantially reduce the risk of injury and death.

There are two smoke alarm technologies on the market today — ionization and photoelectric. Each delivers life-saving smoke detection in different ways. Since you can't know the type of fire that will occur, installing both types of alarms will only improve fire safety preparedness. Fire protection and prevention experts do not recommend one over the other.

Ionization Smoke Alarms

Fire Safety Smoke Alarm
  • Detect smaller, less visible fire particles
  • May respond slightly faster to flaming fires from paper, wood, or candles
  • Best for areas with highly combustible materials like liquids, newspapers, paint, cooking grease, or cleaning chemicals

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

  • Detect larger, more visible fire particles
  • May respond better to smouldering fires
  • Best for living areas, bedrooms, rooms with large furniture such as sofas, mattresses, or counters that would burn slowly

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Fire Safety CO Smoke Alarm

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a leading cause of accidental poisonings in North America. If undetected and inhaled in enclosed spaces, carbon monoxide fumes can poison and kill with little or no warning in just a few minutes. Installing carbon monoxide alarms can save lives.

What is carbon monoxide?

Sometimes called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an odourless and tasteless invisible gas that can be fatal when inhaled. Carbon monoxide inhibits the blood's capacity to carry oxygen to the heart, brain, and other areas of the body.

Where does carbon monoxide come from?

Carbon monoxide is created when carbon-based fuels such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, coal, and wood are burned. If fuel-burning appliances and machinery are operated indoors or in poorly ventilated areas, dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up. Sources that can lead to CO build-ups include:

  • Furnaces, water heaters, and space heaters that are defective or improperly installed
  • Gas fireplaces
  • Vehicles or combustion engines operated in an enclosed garage
  • Gas appliances, such as a range, stovetop, or clothes dryer

Types of Alarms

When installed and working properly, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms help alert people to the presence of dangerous smoke and poisonous carbon monoxide gas. There are four main types of alarms available for your facility.

  • Battery-operated alarms offer reliable and inexpensive protection for any property. They are easy to install on a ceiling or wall. Remember to replace batteries every 6 months
  • Direct wire alarms are hard-wired to a standard 120V electrical circuit and can be connected to other direct wire alarms in the unit or building
  • Direct wire alarms with battery back-up ensure the alarm will function even if the power goes out
  • Combination alarms feature dual sensing technologies to detect both life-threatening smoke and carbon monoxide

Alarm Installation & Maintenance Tips

  • Comply with any alarm legislation in your city or province
  • Install inside & outside each sleeping area and on every level
  • Place CO alarms at least 5-20 feet away from a fuel-burning appliance
  • Regularly test all alarms
  • Replace alarms based on manufacturer recommendations or when they don't perform as expected
  • Batteries can be removed or stolen from alarms — stock up on AA and 9-volt batteries for preventative maintenance


Even a small fire can cause a lot of damage. If your property has suffered a fire, trust HD Supply for the fire safety supplies and equipment you need to repair, replace, and rebuild.

NOTE: This information is a summary interpretation and was prepared as general reference material only. This summary is not authoritative as laws can be amended over time. For specific compliance requirements and updates, please refer to the actual code language and the statute or consult legal counsel.

Make Fire Safety A Top Priority