Smoke alarms in spotlight for fire safety day


The Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service will be at Canadian Tire next Saturday (May 15) to promote its annual “Spring into Summer—Spring into Safety” campaign.
Fire safety specialist Wayne Riches said firefighters will be on hand from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to offer information on fire safety, as well as answer any questions.
There will be displays, booths, trucks, plenty of giveaways, and a raffle for a child’s bike.
Riches said the safety focus this spring is smoke alarm awareness, noting the public must realize there are rules regarding smoke alarms under the Ontario Fire Code.
“We’re going to focus on both homeowners and landlords responsibility under the Fire Code, their legal obligations,” stressed Riches.
“I think there’s a lot of people that aren’t in compliance out there.”
The Ontario Fire Code states:
•all homes must have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas (if you don’t, the fire department has the power to issue a ticket for $235 or lay charges that could result in a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to a year in jail);
•landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining smoke alarms in their rental properties (if they don’t, they could be fined up to $100,000 and/or up to a year in jail);
•tenants are responsible that the smoke alarms in their rental property work (if the smoke alarm doesn’t work, they must inform their landlord to correct that); and
•tenants must not tamper with the smoke alarms and make them inoperable (they can be fined for tampering with or disabling a smoke alarm–and that includes removing the battery).
There is no smoke alarm warning in roughly 50 percent of all fatal fires in Ontario, according to the Office of the Fire Marshal.
The Office of the Fire Marshall also recommends:
•The more smoke alarms you have, the better your odds of survival (it is recommended you also consider installing one inside every bedroom).
•The most common reason for removing batteries is because the alarm operates when you don’t want it to, such as when cooking dinner.
There are ways to address this that don’t put your life in danger, such as installing a smoke alarm with a “hush” feature that allows you to temporarily silence it at the push of a button, moving the alarm, or installing a photoelectric model.
•Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced every year, or when the smoke alarm starts to chirp, which is a signal that the battery is nearing the end of its life.
•Smoke alarms should be tested every month, following the manufacturer’s instructions (be sure to test them if you have been away from the house for more than a few days because the batteries could have expired in your absence).
•All smoke alarms, whether battery-operated or electrically-wired, should be replaced with new ones if they are more than 10 years old.
•When the smoke alarms sound, everyone in your household needs to know what to do.
Develop and practise a home fire escape plan.