RUSSELL – The Russell Township fire departments have noticed a trend of false smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms. This seems to be happening in newer homes with new units, even in other areas of the province.

At this time, we cannot pinpoint what is causing these false alarms but we felt it was necessary to address the matter with our residents. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms occasionally do malfunction and cause false alarms, however this is not as common as people think. These devices are mandated by law, are intensely tested, and save lives.

The trend in false alarms does not necessarily mean all devices malfunctioned. The alarm could sound due to the placement of the alarm, dust within the unit, high humidity, and more. Your manufacturer’s installation and maintenance instructions will have further recommendations.

We want to remind residents that a smoke or CO alarm going off needs to be taken seriously. In the case of a CO alarm sounding, you should immediately vacate the property, call 911 and let us test the CO levels in your home with our specialized equipment. There is never a financial cost to residents whenever we respond to a 911 call, and when it comes to CO, you need to be certain it is safe before re-entering the home.

We ask that you clean all the units by vacuuming or blowing the units out with compressed air to ensure there is no dust build up within the unit. If false alarms continue, you might have a malfunctioning unit. If your home is less than one-year-old the builder’s warranty may cover replacement of the unit. Otherwise, you will need to contact the manufacturer for a replacement unit if it is still within the warranty period. We want to remind everyone that within the Province of Ontario homeowners / landlords are responsible to ensure that their residence has a working smoke alarm on each floor and a CO alarm outside of ALL sleeping areas at ALL times. Newer construction now requires smoke alarms inside each bedroom.

If you have a malfunctioning alarm, please do the following two steps:

1) Register an online complaint with Health Canada, and; 

2) Complete our Smoke/CO Alarm Report and email it to us directly at

The recording and registering of this information is very important. It helps determine if specific models are exceeding the acceptable number of defective units, which could represent a risk to the general public.

It is our mission and duty to keep the residents of Russell Township safe and informed on matters associated with fire safety. If you have any further questions or concerns with your smoke or CO alarms please contact us directly via email at