When it comes to keeping your family safe from tragedy caused by fire, a smoke detector is your #1 ally. So, if you have them installed in your home, you‘re already off to a great start.

That doesn‘t mean your is work is done, however. Because of the important role smoke detectors play in keeping you and your family out of harm‘s way, it‘s essential to make sure you understand where to install them and how to maintain them.

Here are 5 important things firefighters say you should keep in mind about your home‘s smoke detectors:

Location Matters: If you live in an older home, your smoke detectors may not be installed in the best places, or you may not have enough of them installed. Ideally, you want smoke detectors in every bedroom as well as the hallway outside of your bedrooms. You also want them in or near the kitchen and in the same room as your fireplace. Also, if your home has several levels, you want to be sure to install a smoke alarm on every floor including the basement.

Periodic Testing is Required: It goes without saying that a smoke detector is only useful if it works. That‘s why monthly testing is important. To help you remember, link the task to something you already do on a monthly basis like paying the electric bill.

They Don‘t Last Forever: Smoke alarms have about a 10-year product lifespan. If your home is more than a decade old and you‘ve never replaced your smoke detectors, it‘s time to start shopping for new ones.

It‘s the Law: Installing smoke alarms in your home isn‘t just smart, in Ontario and other provinces in Canada, it‘s required by law. Failure to comply can be costly. You could be forced to pay a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $50,000.

They‘re Smart Now: Did you know you can buy “smart” smoke detectors that connect to Wi-Fi? That‘s right, these high-tech alarms send you convenient alerts on your smartphone to let you know when the batteries are low and when the alarm goes off.

Best of all, some insurance carriers offer discounts for homeowners and renters who have smart smoke detectors installed at their residence. Talk to your insurance broker today to see if you qualify for a discount!