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Fire Prevention Week

October 3-9, 2021

The theme for Fire Prevention Week 2021 is "Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety." In Winnipeg, over 29,000 households in Winnipeg don’t have smoke alarms, and many more don’t maintain them properly. WFPS also responds to hundreds of carbon monoxide and fire alarm bell calls each year. These devices save lives. But residents need to know what sounds to listen for, and what to do when they hear it.

Learn the sounds of fire safety

Do you know the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm? What about the sound an alarm makes when you need to change the batteries? Would you know what to do if a fire alarm bell went off at your work, school or apartment?

Fire Prevention Week is a great opportunity to re-familiarize yourself with the sounds of fire safety, test and maintain your alarms, and speak to your children or loved ones about fire safety in your home. Watch our safety video and review the safety tips below.

Alarm sounds

Beep, beep, beep

If you hear a beep, beep, beep - get on your feet. Your smoke alarm is letting you know it has detected smoke and there could be a fire nearby. It’s time to get outside safely, go to your outdoor meeting place, and call 911. If there’s smoke stay low.

Four quick beeps

If you hear FOUR quick beeps – that’s your carbon monoxide alarm. The gas is in your home and you need to get outside into fresh air as quickly as possible, call 911, and do not go back inside.


If you hear a chirp – it’s time for a change. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms chirp periodically when batteries are low. It’s important to replace them or your alarm won’t be able to alert you to a fire or gas exposure danger.

Loud bell or tone

If you hear a loud bell or tone – that’s a fire alarm bell. It’s time to get out of your school, workplace, apartment, or other building in an orderly fashion.

Alarm types

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms can alert you to the presence of smoke before you can detect it yourself. To help protect yourself and your family from fire, install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. If you need help installing a smoke alarm in your home, qualifying Winnipeg residents can request WFPS crews to install one for you via the Smoke Alarm For Every (S.A.F.E.) Family Program.

S.A.F.E. Family Program

Carbon monoxide alarms

Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide gas. It’s an invisible, odorless, and colourless gas that can make you sick or kill you when fuels burn incompletely (gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane). Smoke alarms DO NOT protect you from CO gas. If you have fuel-burning heating or cooking equipment, purchase carbon monoxide alarms for your home and place them where you can hear them, usually outside sleeping areas.

Fire alarm bells

Fire alarm bells alert multiple occupants of apartments/condominium buildings, office towers and schools of a possible life safety risk including fires. If you hear a fire alarm bell, it’s time to leave the building and gather at a designated meeting place until the building is safe for re-occupancy. In the event of an emergency:

  • Close doors behind you.
  • Bring your suite or office keys in case all exits are blocked.
  • Feel doors for heat and don’t open them if they are hot (find another way out).
  • Stay low if there’s smoke.
  • If all exits are blocked, return to your suite, fill cracks in the door with tape or a wet towel, and call 911 to let them know you are trapped. Use a flashlight or light-coloured cloth to signal for help.
  • Never pull a fire alarm unless there is smoke or fire. People may become complacent if they hear too many false alarms.

Alarm maintenance

Maintain your smoke and CO alarms by:

  • Testing them once a month (press and hold the test button. It should emit an alarm).
  • Changing the batteries once a year.
  • Replacing the unit once every 10 years (smoke alarms), or as per manufacturer’s instructions (CO alarms).

Visit a WFPS Station

Update: Due to rain in the forecast, outdoor Station Open Houses will now take place on Saturday, October 16 from noon to 4 p.m. There will be no Open Houses on Saturday, October 9.

Station Open Houses are back this year, after a one-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a great way for residents and their families to drop-by and learn about fire safety from their neighbourhood emergency responders.

Open Houses will take place outdoors, from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 9, 2021 at the stations noted below. Rain Date: October 16.

Please note, all open houses will be held outdoors, and masks, physical distancing and hand sanitizers will be used to help keep everyone safe. Guests will not be permitted on fire trucks. You can also book a presentation with WFPS’s public education branch on the sounds of fire safety at

Virtual station tour

Talk to a WFPS member at Canadian Tire

WFPS representatives will have booths set up inside three Canadian Tire stores during Fire Prevention Week to demonstrate the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. They’ll be at the following stores from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.:

Resources for teachers and parents

Fire Prevention Week is a great opportunity to teach children lifesaving information about fire safety. Whether it’s practicing fire drills in school or at home or taking some time in the kitchen to point out potential hazards, you can make sure the children in your life are prepared. Some fire drill procedures may have to change to work within COVID-19 precautions.

Lesson plans

Activities for kids


Safety tip sheets

Other resources

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