On March 1st, 2006 changes to the Ontario Fire Code regarding smoke alarms became law. Under the changes, operating smoke alarms are required on every floor in residential dwellings.  They will be required to be installed on all levels of all residences whether there is a bedroom on that level or not. As well, this change requires that all smoke alarms be replaced every ten years. 

Sarnia Fire Rescue Services recommends that a smoke alarm be installed within every bedroom.

Failure to comply with the Ontario Fire Code requirements regarding smoke alarms could result in fines ranging from $360.00 to $50,000.00 for individuals, or up to $100,000.00 for Corporately owned units.

The Fire Marshals Office recommends 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 Ticket to Provincial Offences Act charges.

The owner of a property is responsible to ensure that smoke alarms are installed and maintained.  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.

Common Questions regarding Smoke Alarms:

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?
It is true that fines beginning at $360.00 can be given by a Provincial Offenses Officer for failing to have a working smoke alarm, and that the tenant may be given this fine in some circumstances.

How do People die when they have a smoke alarm in their home?
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 operable of the smoke alarm.

How do I dispose of an old Smoke Alarm?
When disposing of Smoke Alarms at the end of their usefulness (or after 10 years, whichever comes first), they can be placed in your normal trash.  When disposing of 10 or more alarms at once – such as when a landlord may be switching all the alarms in his units at one time – they can be brought to Clean Harbours landfill site. (Click the link for directions, and information on what other ‘hazardous waste’ items are accepted.)