The housing and rental market in Estevan favors the buyer or renter at the moment, and as such people are moving into new spaces in recent days. A new home or apartment carries a long checklist of questions, but the Estevan Fire Department wants to make sure one thing isn't left off that list. 

A thorough review of fire safety protocols from alarms to exits, as well as knowledge of carbon monoxide and natural gas alarms should, they said, be part of any home selection process. Earlier this week, they received a call that drove this point home. 

"This was a case of a rental house that the tenant, who had just recently taken over and moved into there," said Fire Chief Dale Feser, "didn't know the code, nor were they aware that a monitored system was in place. They did hear some battery beeping, they went to change the battery in the alarm... Another gentle reminder there to all of our landowners and homeowners, if you are renting a property, ensure that you're giving the proper credentials to the new tenants."

Some systems automatically send a signal to the fire department if they are tampered with, according to Feser, while others may have different methods of shutting down in non-emergency situations. Whatever the case, Feser said before you move in, these are things you should know. 

"From a renter's standpoint, you obviously want to make sure your family is protected, or yourself is protected if you don't have a family," he said. "You want to make sure that the smoke alarms that are in the building itself are functional, they have to be within ten years of age from the time of manufacture. Check to see if there are carbon monoxide alarms. Check to see if it's just a local system or is it a monitored system."

Feser explained that local systems are standard, battery-operated hardwired systems that only generate an alert within the home. Monitored systems send alerts directly to the fire department. The landlord's job is to make sure the building has properly functioning alarms for both carbon monoxide and smoke. 

"I think we're seeing a high turnaround in the real estate world," said Feser. "There are some people that are looking, there are a lot of houses available. You may see a lot of people moving into new occupancies there that might have some monitoring systems in place or installed already."

Feser added if you're concerned about the smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors you can register an anonymous complaint with the fire department.