Frequently Asked Questions about Smoke Alarms
- SMOKE ALARM LAW CHANGE EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 2006
- On March 1st, 2006 changes to the Ontario Fire Code regarding smoke alarms became law. Under the changes, operating smoke alarms will be required on every floor in houses. At present smoke alarms are only mandatory outside of sleeping areas in homes built before 1986. On March 1st, 2006 smoke alarms will be required to be installed on all levels of all residents whether there is a bedroom on that level or not. Also this change requires that all smoke alarms be changed every ten years.
- Failure to comply with the Ontario FIre Code requirements regarding smoke alarms could result in fines ranging from $235.00 to $50,000.00 for individuals, or up to $100,000.00 for Corporately owned units.
- The Fire Marshals Office is recommending a zero tolerance policy with regards to smoke alarms. If you are found in contravention of this law, legal action could proceed with action deemed necessary under the law. This could range from a Provincial Offences Tiches to Provincial Offences Act charges.
- The owner of a property is responsible to insure that smoke alarms are installed and maintained. In the case of a rental property the Landlord is considered the owner. Tenants of rental properties will be subject to the same actions if it is proven that they disabled the smoke alarm in any way or removed it.
- It is true that a fine of $235.00 can be given by a Provincial Offences Officer for failing to have a working smoke alarm.
Is it true that a home owner, apartment owner, or tenant can be charged under Part 1 of the Provincial Offences Act for failing to have, maintain or for disabling a smoke alarm?
- How do People die when they have a smoke alarm in their homes?
- Smoke alarms are important life safety devices and as such must be maintained in operating condition at all times. Smoke alarms generally become inoperative when the power source (either battery or AC power supply) is disconnected. Disconnected power supply, missing batteries, dead batteries or improperly installed batteries are the most common reasons for smoke alarm failure during a fire emergency.
- Why does my smoke alarm beep occasionally?
- Battery operated smoke alarms normally provide an intermittent warning signal for up to seven days when the battery is nearing the end of its life. When this occurs, the correct battery type should be installed immediately to ensure continued operability of the smoke alarm.
- Can I clean a smoke alarm if it is dusty?
- Yes, a smoke alarm can be vacuumed lightly around the outside to clean out any dust that may have accumulated on the inside. With regular cleaning, smoke alarms are less likely to alarm for no reason.
- When should I replace the battery in my smoke alarm?
- The battery should be replaced once a year and this is a choice you should make for a specific day as it must be remembered. We recommend that the batteries be replaced either at the time change or when shopping for Christmas gifts, buy a battery for the smoke alarm as well.
Make it Stop! Campaign Could Save Your Life
The Sarnia Fire Rescue Services is concerned by the number of smoke alarms in homes that have had their batteries removed or been disconnected in Sarnia.
Often occupants disable smoke alarms because the alarm has activated when they are cooking, making toast or after using the shower. These are called nuisance alarms.
“If nuisance alarms are a problem, people can visit www.makeitstop.ca or contact us to get life-saving tips and solutions,” said Fire Chief Pat Cayen. “Solutions include relocating the smoke alarm or installing a smoke alarm with a “hush” feature.”
The solutions are part of new provincial campaign developed by the Office of the Fire Marshal called Make it Stop! to educate Ontarians about nuisance alarm solutions, smoke alarm technologies, home fire escape plans and the importance of working smoke alarms.
The Ontario Fire Code requires that every home have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. It is against the law to disable a smoke alarm.
Sarnia Fire Rescue Services wants to help the public to easily solve problems with nuisance alarms and ensure that all alarms are working to give residents those precious seconds they need to escape a fire.
For homeowners, tenants and individual landlords, failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements can result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000.
Anyone who has questions about nuisance alarms or other fire safety issues are welcome to contact
Tom Marshall, Public Education Officer Sarnia Fire Rescue ServicesTelephone: 519 332 1122Fax: 519 332 1376
or visit www.makeitstop.ca.