Time to change smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries as daylight saving time ends November 1

Toronto Fire

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.

Tips:

  • 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.

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Halloween safety tips from Toronto’s paramedics and firefighters

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LED jack-o-lanters are safer than candlelit versions.

Toronto Paramedic Services and Toronto Fire Services remind everyone to stay safe and have fun this Halloween. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to review the following safety tips before trick-or-treat activities on Saturday.

Avoid slips, trips and falls

  • Check the costume’s size to ensure a snug fit, with the costume no longer than ankle length.
  • Consider makeup instead of a mask for a child. Masks can restrict vision and make it difficult to see approaching traffic.
  • Turn on your porch light and clear walkways of clutter.

Prevent fires

  • Keep candles, matches and lighters away from children.
  • Keep lit pumpkins away from drapes, decorations or other flammable objects.
  • Consider lighting your pumpkin with an LED light instead of a candle flame.

Be visible

  • Carry a flashlight.
  • Attach a strip of reflective tape to your child’s costume. 
  • Wear light-coloured clothing instead of primarily dark colours.

Plan ahead to stay warm and dry

  • Send your child out in layers of clothing – an extra layer under the costume will make a difference if a child is outside for an extended period.
  • Place a hat and mitts in the bottom of your child’s treat bag in case they are needed.

Follow basic safety rules

  • Supervise small children when they are crossing a road.
  • Wait for cars to come to a complete stop before starting to walk across the street at a stop sign, crosswalk or traffic light.
  • Plan a meeting spot in advance in case friends/family members who are out together become separated.
  • Check treats for signs of tampering, or for candy that appears likely to be a potential choking hazard for your child.

Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP

Toronto Fire
Toronto Fire Station 243 is located in Ward 41 at 4560 Sheppard Ave. E.

The week of October 5th is Fire Prevention Week and Toronto Fire Services is hosting open house events across the city with the theme “Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP”. Station 243 at 4560 Sheppard Ave E is located in our ward and its open house event will be held on Wednesday, October 7th, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Participants will learn the importance of having working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and how to prepare and practise a home fire escape plan.

Have you checked your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms at home for working batteries yet? Now that we are well into fall and approaching the end of day-light saving (remember to turn your clock back an hour on November 1st), fire safety becomes extra crucial as we start turn on our furnaces and heaters. We strongly encourage residents to test the alarms and replace old batteries when necessary.

Fire investigations

Toronto Fire
Toronto Fire Station 243 is located at Brownspring Rd. and Sheppard Ave. E. in Ward 41. 

There was a recent fire in the Ward, and residents around the burnt house are concerned for their own safety. A fence has been erected around the demolished house for safety reasons. Fortunately, not many fires occur in Toronto and even less in our Ward.

Due to residents’ concerns, I (and my staff) made some inquiries into the cause of that fire, and my discovery, in summary, was that the investigation is in the hands of the Ontario Fire Marshal. It is still under investigation, and they do not have to share their findings. Also their very preliminary assessment is that there is no criminal investigation needed and there were no deaths.

Our city’s fire investigators do not have the investigative role or the skills to perform the investigation. The governance of this area is under Ontario’s Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997. Under this Act, the collective bargaining contract (Part IX) also forms part of that governance. Our inspectors are trained for fire prevention and risk assessment. And our fire fighters are trained to fight fires and other emergencies.

I also spoke to our Fire Fighters’ Association new President, Frank Pamagnano, and Toronto Fire Chief, Jim Sales, and was informed that Toronto has only just recently began taking on that investigative role for more routine fires as Ontario Fire Marshal will only investigate major fires or emergencies. Experienced staff will be hired who will then train and mentor others.