Most fatal fires occur at night when people are asleep. Often, victims never wake up. A working smoke alarm will detect smoke and sound an alarm to alert you, giving you precious time to escape. Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas
It is the responsibility of homeowners to install and maintain smoke alarms on every storey of their home and outside sleeping areas.
It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure their rental properties comply with the law.
If you are a tenant of a rental property and do not have the required number of smoke alarms, contact your landlord immediately. It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with the alarm in any way.
Failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations
There are smoke alarms available with different features and applications, so choosing the right alarm can be confusing. Some of the features to consider include:
Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey of the home as well as outside sleeping areas. Because smoke rises, smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling. If this is not possible, install the alarm high up on a wall. Always follow the manufacturers instructions when installing smoke alarms.
Avoid putting smoke alarms too close to bathrooms, windows, ceiling fans and heating and cooking appliances.
Test your smoke alarms every month by using the test button on the alarm. When the test button is pressed, the alarm should sound. If it fails to sound, make sure that the battery is installed correctly or install a new battery. If the alarm still fails to sound, replace the smoke alarm with a new one.
Install a new battery at least once a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Install a new battery if the low-battery warning sounds or if the alarm fails to sound when tested.
Dust can clog your smoke alarms. Battery-powered smoke alarms should be cleaned by opening the cover of the alarm and gently vacuuming the inside with a soft bristle brush.
For electrically-connected smoke alarms, first shut off the power to the unit, and then gently vacuum the outside vents of the alarm only. Turn the power back on and test the alarm.
All smoke alarms wear out. Replace smoke alarms according to manufacturers’ recommendations.
Steam from the shower or cooking in the oven, stove or toaster can cause smoke alarms to activate. If these types of nuisance alarms occur, do not remove the battery. There are several options you can try to reduce nuisance alarms.
Make sure that everyone knows the sound of the smoke alarm and what to do if it activates. Create an escape plan with the entire household and practice it. Make sure your plan identifies two ways out of each room, if possible, and a meeting place outside. Once outside, stay outside. Never re-enter a burning building. Call the fire department from a neighbours home or cell phone.