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Smoke Alarms

INSTALL SMOKE ALARMS:  IT'S THE LAW.
Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.

Homeowners
It is the responsibility of homeowners to install and maintain smoke alarms on every storey of their home and outside sleeping areas

Landlords
It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure their rental properties comply with the law.

Tenants
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 $235 OR A FINE OF UP TO $50,000 FOR INDIVIDUALS OR $100,000 FOR CORPORATIONS.

Only working smoke alarms can save your life!

When installing smoke alarms, refer to the manufacturer's instructions for information about correct placement.
Test your smoke alarms every month using the test button.
Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, and whenever the low-battery warning chirps.
Smoke alarms don't last forever. Replace smoke alarms with new ones if they are more than ten years old.
Steam from the shower or cooking in the oven, stove or toaster can cause smoke alarms to activate.

Advice for dealing with nuisance alarms.

  • Use the Hush Feature:   Smoke alarms are available with a pause or hush button that can be used to temporarily silence the alarm. This is a convenient way to deal with nuisance alarms, such as those caused by burning toast or opening smoky ovens, without disabling the alarm. The hush button will silence the alarm for several minutes and then automatically reset itself. Smoke alarms with this feature discourage the dangerous practice of removing the battery or disconnecting the power source as a method of dealing with frequent nuisance alarms. When purchasing smoke alarms, look for alarms with a hush feature, especially if the alarm will be installed near a kitchen or bathroom.

    It should be noted that many alarms with a hush feature will chirp intermittently while in hush mode. The chirping will stop once the alarm resets itself.

    If smoke continues to build from a real fire while the alarm is in hush mode, the smoke will override the silence feature and the smoke alarm will resound.
  • Try a different type of smoke alarm:  Smoke alarms commonly use one of two types of technology to detect the presence of smoke in the air: ionization or photoelectric.

    Ionization Smoke Alarms:
    This type of smoke alarm uses a small amount of radioactive material that ionizes the air between two electrically charged plates, causing a measurable current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it changes the flow of current, which is detected and activates the alarm. Ionization alarms may be more prone to nuisance alarms caused by cooking activities.

    Photoelectric Smoke Alarms:
    This type of alarm uses a light source that is aimed away from a sensor in a sensing chamber. When smoke enters the chamber it reflects the light onto the sensor, which is detected and activates the alarm. Photoelectric alarms may be less prone to nuisance alarms caused by cooking activities.

    If you experience frequent nuisance alarms from an ionization type smoke alarm located near the kitchen, try replacing it with a photoelectric type smoke alarm.

    Regardless of the type of technology used, smoke alarms are tested to the same Canadian standard and must meet the same level of performance.

    Look for one of these marks on the smoke alarm, which is proof that the device meets the appropriate Canadian standard:

      Photo of Underwriters Labs Canada symbol             UL inside a circle

     For further information about smoke alarms visit the Office of the Fire Marshal.    
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