The Fire Guy
Your Fire Code Retrofit Specialist - Serving The Residential Industry
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New Smoke Alarm Requirements Take Effect March 1
As of March 1, installing a smoke alarm on every level of your dwelling is law. It’s no longer sufficient to have one in the bedroom hallway and be done with it.
The Ontario Fire Code’s public educational campaign, Working Smoke Alarms: It’s the Law!, is designed to inform residents that smoke alarms are required outside sleeping quarters and on every floor of a dwelling, including the basement.
(If you rent, then your landlord is responsible for installing and maintaining these units.)
According to the Office of the Fire Marshal’s website, www.ofm.gov.on.ca, approximately 50% of fatal home fires had no smoke alarm warning.
“Think of smoke alarms as seatbelts for your home,” says Bernard Moyle, Ontario Fire Marshal. “You wish you didn’t have to use them, but when they are needed and they protect your family from harm, you are forever grateful that they were there and that they were working.”
If your home already has a fire alarm system that is hardwired into the electrical system, it’s not necessary to hardwire any additions. Battery-operated alarms are acceptable, providing you change the battery twice a year.
OIL FURNACES, FIREPLACES, GARAGES
Many people are under the mistaken belief that you only need a CO detector if you have gas-fired furnace, but even those with oil furnaces, gas appliances, fireplaces or a garage are vulnerable.
CO detectors may not be mandated by the Ontario Fire Code but it is recommended and is now part of the building code for new homes, says Janice Johnstone, program specialist with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office.
The City of Toronto and most other municipalities have by-laws requiring CO detectors in every home with fuel fired appliances.
Check with your local By-law Department for requirements.
PROPER INSTALLATION IS KEY
Proper installation of smoke detectors is key.
Here are a few tips from the Office of the Fire Marshal for keeping your alarms in good working order.
- Install smoke detectors outside every sleeping area of the house and on every level. Since smoke rises mount the alarm on the ceiling.
- Test once a month and change the batteries twice a year.
- Never remove the batteries. If nuisance alarms are a problem, move it to another location or purchase an alarm with a pause button that temporarily silences the alarm.
- Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
- You can attach the smoke alarm with double sided tape if you don’t want to drill a hole into the ceiling. "Just make sure the alarm stays up there " says Janice Johnstone, programme specialist with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office.
- Vacuum once a year. “You can take the casing off a battery operated alarm and vacuum with a soft brush,” adds Johnstone. Do not clean a hard wired alarm unless you shut off the power first. Remember to turn the power back on.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are plugged into an electrical socket, which are usually about knee-high from the floor. “This is where most peoples heads are when they’re s;eeping,” says Johnstone, so even if you purchase a battery-powered CO detector, it should be mounted on the wall, approximately 18-inches (45 cm) from the floor.
- Develope a fire escape plan and practice it with your family.
For more information, visit the Ontario Fire Marshal at www.ofm.gov.on.ca
REMEMBER; Only WORKING smoke alarms save lives !
Test YOUR smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to-day.
Paul Schuster the "Fire Guy"
73Gray Cres. Richmond Hill Ont.
L4C 5V4 (905)884-4423
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Go this to-day , hope it helps.