A Vancouver Island fire chief is issuing an urgent reminder about the importance of working smoke alarms in your home.

Campbell River’s Thomas Doherty says regularly changing smoke alarm batteries is quite possibly the easiest, most affordable way to save lives.

“The unfortunate reality is that fire kills approximately eight Canadians every week. Nearly three-quarters of those deaths are in residential fires, and most are completely avoidable,” Doherty says.

“Working smoke alarms greatly increase the chances of surviving a house fire.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, research shows that fire’s spread much quicker with today’s modern furnishings.

Having a sufficient number of properly located, working smoke alarms in accordance with the British Columbia Building Code will give you the most time to escape a fire.

If you haven’t changed your smoke alarm batteries yet this year, Doherty says now is the perfect time.

You’re recommended to replace smoke alarm batteries each spring or fall, with the time change. Clocks will be set back one hour for the end of Daylight Saving Time on November 1st.

“Saving lives can be as simple as changing your smoke alarm batteries once a year. We also recommend having a smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each floor of your home,” Doherty adds.

“For everyone’s sake, please make regular smoke alarm testing in your home a priority. And plan to replace smoke alarms every seven to ten years.”