Smoke Alarms: Remember, it’s the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. You may have just seconds to safely escape a fire in your home. That’s why early detection of fire is absolutely vital. Only working smoke alarms provide those precious seconds you and your family need to safely escape.
Homeowners: must install and maintain smoke alarms on every storey of their home and outside sleeping areas.
Landlords: must ensure their rental properties comply with the law.
Tenants: contact your landlord immediately if you do not have the required number of smoke alarms or if any of your alarms are disconnected / not operating properly. It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with the smoke alarms in any way.
Failure to comply with Ontario Fire Code smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket of up to $360 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals (first offense) or $500,000 for corporations (first offense).
REPLACE ALARMS EVERY 10 YEARS ... ALL MODELS, ALL TYPES!
PHOTOELECTRIC SMOKE ALARM
Photoelectric smoke alarms use a beam of light to detect smoke. They are more responsive to fires that begin with long period of smoldering. Photoelectric smoke alarms tend to be less prone to nuisance alarms in your kitchen.
IONIZATION SMOKE ALARM
Ionization smoke alarms detect fire by sensing changes in heat and air quality in your home. They are more responsive to flaming fires, but are more susceptible to nuisance alarms due to cooking.
HARD-WIRED SMOKE ALARMS
Hard-wired smoke alarms are powered directly by your home’s electricity. Hard-wired smoke alarms will not function in the event of a power outage, so make sure your alarms have a battery back-up feature, or install additional battery-operated smoke alarms.
If you are replacing a hard-wired smoke alarm, you must replace it with another hard-wired unit. You cannot substitute a battery operated smoke alarm in its place.
BATTERY OPERATED SMOKE ALARM
Battery operated smoke alarms get their power from batteries. Batteries must be replaced when the low-battery indicator chirps, when the smoke alarm doesn’t function properly when tested, or every 6 months.
Smoke alarms are now available with 10 year lithium batteries which never need to be replaced for the life of the unit. These smoke alarms are great for hard to reach places and those who have difficulty maintaining their smoke alarms.
INTERCONNECTED SMOKE ALARMS
Interconnected smoke alarms communicate with each other so when one smoke alarm detects fire they all sound. These smoke alarms provide your family with the highest level of early warning in the event of fire. If you have more than one hard-wired smoke alarm in your home, they should already be interconnected.
WIRELESS INTERCONNECTED ALARMS
Interconnected smoke alarms can also be installed in homes that aren’t already wired for it. Wireless smoke alarms are battery operated alarms which still communicate with each other with wireless signals. These alarms can also be great for detection in a nearby building such as a garage or shed.
DETECTOR COMMUNICATION AND SPECIAL FEATURES
SMOKE ALARMS WITH CO ALARMS
Some smoke alarms are combination units which detect carbon monoxide as well as smoke and fire. Combination alarms are available in hard-wired and battery operated models, and have two different alarm sounds to tell you whether its smoke or CO.
DETECTOR SPECIAL FEATURES
Since it is against the law to disable smoke alarms, many smoke alarms are now available with features such as “hush” buttons, which temporarily silences a nuisance alarm.
Additionally, smoke alarms are available with strobe lights, pillow/bed shakers, and other notifiers for those who are hearing or visually impaired.
In Ontario, working smoke alarms are required by law on every level of the home and outside of all sleeping areas. New homes are also required to have a working smoke alarm equipped with a visual signal device (flashing strobe light) located inside each bedroom.
Smoke rises. Smoke alarms should be located up high, either on a ceiling (minimum of 4” away from a wall) or on a wall (between 4” – 12” down from the ceiling). Smoke alarms must be installed in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines, but this graphic can be used as a general guideline for where to place them.
In rooms with peaked or sloped ceilings, smoke alarms should be installed near the top of the ceiling. They should be at least 4” down but must be placed within 3’ of the peak measured horizontally. Smoke alarms must be installed on peaked / sloped ceilings in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines, but this graphic can be used as a guideline for where to place smoke alarms in rooms with peaked / sloped ceilings.
DIAL 9-1-1 FOR ALL EMERGENCIES
- Visit the
Ministry of the Solicitor General website for valuable information on:
- Installing and Maintaining your smoke alarms
- Plan your escape
- Handle nuisance alarms
- Public Service Announcements