Fire and Emergency

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I smell gas?
Evacuate your residence and call 911 (Fire Department) from a neighbours house.

What does it mean if my smoke alarm or CO detector is 'chirping'?
If either of your smoke alarm or CO detector are battery operated, replace the battery. If the smoke alarm continues to chirp, it may be indicating that it needs to be replaced—the sensor may be fatigued. The rule of thumb is that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. If the CO detector is chirping—check the manufacturers' instructions—it may be that the model you own gives off a chirp as a low level warning or it also needs replacing. The life expectancy of a CO detector is approximately 5 years.

Do I have to have a smoke alarm?
YES—it is the law. Effective March 1, 2006, every level of the home must have a working smoke alarm, in addition to being outside the sleeping areas. The fine for failure to have a smoke alarm is $235.00 (total payable). In having said that, the smoke alarm requires some routine maintenance - dust can build up and block the sensors. To alleviate this problem, vacuum the inside of the alarm housing carefully with the soft bristle brush attachment.

What kind of smoke alarm should I purchase?
Essentially there are two smoke alarm technologies. There is photoelectric, which responds to smouldering fires, and there is ionization which responds to flaming fires. Confirm that the smoke alarm is UL/ULC listed—it is identified on the packaging and on the sticker on the alarm itself. If you are putting a smoke alarm in your kitchen, always a good idea, it is advisable to select a smoke alarm with a hush feature—this allows you to push a 'hush' button to silence a nuisance alarm, without taking the battery out of the alarm and rendering the alarm useless.

Do I have to have a fire extinguisher?
Even though you are not required by law to have a fire extinguisher in your residence, it is always a good idea.

What kind of Fire Extinguisher should I purchase for my home?
A good general purpose fire extinguish is an ABC. The 'A' is for ordinary combustibles, such as wood and paper; 'B' is for flammable liquids such as cooking grease/oil and gasoline, etc.; 'C' is for electrical fires, such as energized appliances. The fire extinguisher should be mounted in your home close to the room exit, and it should be accessible at all times (nothing blocking it). You should know how to use the fire extinguisher correctly. Again, as with the smoke alarms, ensure the fire extinguishers are UL/ULC listed.

Who can I call to have a fire safety inspection done in my home or business?
You can contact the Fire Department Administration Office by phone (905) 885-5323 or by email or by dropping in at the office located at 245 Ontario Street in Port Hope. Phone calls and visits must be during business hours 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

If I'm a tenant—who is responsible for keeping my smoke alarm working?
The Ontario Fire Code states the following: Smoke alarms shall be maintained in operating condition by the owner; The landlord shall provide a copy of the alarm manufacturer's maintenance instructions or approved alternative to the occupant in each rental dwelling unit. All of that being said, the Ontario Fire Code also states that 'No person shall intentionally disable a smoke alarm so as to make it inoperable.'

Can I burn in if I live in town?
There is no open air burning allowed in town without the permission of the Fire Chief or his designate.

Who can I call if I have a concern over someone else's living conditions?
If your concerns are fire related, as in, the person(s) in the residence are at risk of fire due to an unreasonable amount of combustibles (hoarding), or are exhibiting unsafe fire practises, then you should notify the Fire Department immediately, as it may constitute an 'Immediate Threat to Life'. Concerns due to their health or any unsafe conditions that exist should be directed to the appropriate agencies such as the Health Unit or the Police.

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