When Paul Labbe heard the smoke detector go off, he wasn’t very concerned.

“I thought the smoke detector was malfunctioning,” Labbe said. But when he went to check it out, he found a fire in the garage. By the time he came back to try and extinguish it himself, the whole garage was engulfed and he evacuated his family.

He had practised the escape plan with his family a few times and they gathered at the neighbour’s house across the street.


Labbe and his wife, Coleen, and four of his five children, Tanner, Shae, Bryn and Layne, were guests at the kickoff for Calgary’s 12th annual Residential Smoke Detector Program — living proof that smoke detectors save lives.

From now until Halloween, firefighters will be canvassing neighbourhoods within their districts to provide information and a no-cost checkup on smoke detectors. In the last 11 years, over 175,000 homes have been visited and firefighters have replaced more than 19,600 smoke detectors and 12,700 batteries.

But Dean Krupa from the Calgary Fire Department says to think about the whole equation, including an escape plan, and although you might soon have a firefighter knocking on your door, Krupa says not to wait around.

“Take your own safety into your own hands,” he said. “We can’t possibly … get everywhere.”
Smoke detectors should be checked annually and replaced every 10 years.