Daylight saving time ends this weekend, when clocks are turned back an hour. Toronto Fire Services reminds residents that this annual change of clocks back to standard time is an opportune time to replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
“By installing and maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, you are ensuring that your family is equipped with the best protection against a fire emergency and carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Toronto Fire Chief Jim Sales.
A smoke alarm is required to be installed and maintained on every level and outside each sleeping area in every home, suite or dwelling unit in Ontario.
A carbon monoxide alarm is required to be installed and maintained outside each sleeping area in every home, suite or dwelling in Ontario where:
- the home, suite or dwelling unit has a fuel-burning appliance or a fireplace
- the home, suite or dwelling unit shares a common wall or floor/ceiling with a parking/storage garage, or
- the suite or dwelling unit shares a common wall or floor/ceiling with a service room that is not contained in a suite or dwelling unit and the service room contains a fuel-burning appliance. In this case, a carbon monoxide alarm must also be installed in the service room.
Fuel-burning appliances include furnaces, gas hot-water heaters, gas or wood fireplaces, gas stoves and portable fuel-burning heaters. Barbecues and portable generators are never to be used indoors or in a garage.
- When installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, read the manufacturer’s instructions on correct placement, testing and maintenance.
- Test your alarms every month using the test button.
- Replace alarm batteries at least once a year and whenever the low-battery warning sounds.
- Replace smoke alarms if they are 10 or more years old and replace carbon monoxide alarms if they are seven or more years old.
- Plan and practise your home escape plan to know exactly what to do in an emergency.
It is the responsibility of homeowners to install and maintain their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that their rental properties comply with the law. Tenants whose rented properties do not have the required number of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should contact their landlord immediately. It is against the law for tenants to remove batteries or to tamper with their alarms in any way.
Failure to comply with the Ontario Fire Code smoke alarm requirements could, upon conviction, result in a maximum fine of up to $50,000 for individuals, imprisonment or both, and up to $100,000 for corporations, imprisonment or both.