Smoke Alarm Regulation
Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas – it’s the law! Failure to comply with the fire code smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket of $235 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for Corporations.
If you are a tenant of a rental property and do not have the required number of smoke alarms, contact your landlord immediately. It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with the alarm in any way.
When installing smoke alarms, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for information about correct placement. Test your smoke alarms every month using the test button. Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, and whenever the low-battery warning chirps. Smoke alarms don’t last forever. Replace smoke alarms with new ones if they are more than ten years old. Steam from the shower or cooking in the oven, stove or toaster can cause smoke alarms to activate. Do not remove the battery. Instead, try moving the alarm to a different location, or purchase a smoke alarm with a hush feature that will temporarily silence the alarm. For further information about dealing with nuisance alarms, visit the Ontario Fire Marshal’s website.
OPEN AIR BURNING
Dispose of all household items, such as empty boxes, stacks of newspapers and magazines, and any other items that are flammable. Organize your basement, workshop or garage to reduce fire hazards.
Woodstove And Chimney Safety
Every season, you should have your chimney inspected by a qualified professional. The Ministry of Natural Resources and CMHC has produced an information booklet entitled – “A Guide to Residential Wood Heating.” It is an extremely informative publication dealing with a wide variety of wood heating subjects. To obtain a copy, please go online at Energy Publications Canada.
If you plan to install a new woodstove, please check with the Rama Building Department at 705-325-3611 to get a Building Permit.
- Be sure the wood stove bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory and meets local fire codes.
- Inspect all chimney connections and chimney flues each heating season and clean them periodically.
- Burn only wood – NEVER burn fire logs in a woodstove.
- Be sure the surrounding floor and walls are protected properly – call the Fire Prevention Officer should you have any questions, 705-325-3611.
- Place ashes ONLY in a metal container and store outside away from combustible or flammable materials.
Christmas Tree Care and Safety
A few things to remember when setting up your tree:
- When you bring the tree into the house for decorating, make another fresh cut across the trunk about an inch from the original cut. Use a tree stand that holds plenty of water.
- Trees are thirsty. They may drink up to four litres of water per day, so be sure to check daily and supply fresh water as needed. A stand which holds at least four litres of water is recommended. If you allow the water level to drop below the bottom of the tree, a seal will form just as it does on a cut flower and a new cut will be necessary.
- A Christmas tree with a high moisture content is less flammable.
- Place your tree away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets and other sources of heat.
- Turn off the Christmas tree lights when you leave the house or before you retire at night.
While you are enjoy the festivities of the season, remember the following safety tips:
- Take care when burning candles. Be sure they are kept well away from decorations or other combustibles. Don’t leave children unattended in a room with lit candles, and always keep candles, as well as matches and lighters up high and out of the reach of children.
- Provide guests with large deep ashtrays and check them frequently and after the party. Remember to check inside and under upholstery and in trash cans for cigarette butts that could be smoldering. Empty ashtrays into metal containers.
- Should a fire occur in a pot, NEVER try and move the pot, instead smother the flames by covering with a lid. Turn off the heat immediately. Baking soda can be used on small fires if no lid is available. Never use flour or salt, it can be explosive. Never turn on the overhead fan, as this could spread the fire. NEVER THROW WATER ON A GREASE FIRE!
- Gift wrappings, boxes, cartons and other types of packing must not be burned in the fireplace. They burn too rapidly and generate far too much heat for that type of structure.
- Don’t hang Christmas stockings from the fireplace mantel when the fireplace is in use.
- Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
- Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire. Use only seasoned and dried wood.
- Do not use pressure treated wood.
- Clean the ashes regularly. Place the ashes in a metal container and store outside away from combustible or flammable materials.
- Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year, prior to the start of the heating season. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not properly cleaned.
- Always protect your home and your family by using a sturdy screen in front of your fireplace.
- Place all space heaters at least 36 inches away from flammable materials, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets, and people.
- Do not leave space heaters unattended or in use while sleeping.
- Never place articles for drying over space heaters.
- Check electrical space heaters for fraying or splitting wires and overheating.
- Let a professional repair person correct all problems before operating the space heater.
- Always use the proper fuel for liquid fueled heaters. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment’s design limits.
- Be sure space heaters are properly vented. Refill them in well-ventilated areas and only when they are cool.
- All space heaters should bear the label of an independent testing laboratory.
Examine holiday light strings each year. Discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections.
Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs. Check to ensure replacement bulbs match the voltage and wattage of the original bulb.
Ensure that bulb reflectors are the right size for the light string.
Look for the CSA mark on light strings, extension cords and electrical decorations.
Always turn off Christmas lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed.
Store lights and decorations in the original packaging, as it likely contains manufacturer’s instructions regarding replacement bulbs and details for proper use of the product.
Before working with outdoor wiring, turn off the electricity to the supply outlet and unplug the connection.
Ensure that light strings, cords, spotlights and floodlights are CSA-certified and marked for outdoor use or wet locations.
When hanging lights outdoors, keep electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow, as well as away from metal eaves troughs.
Use insulated fasteners rather than metal nails or tacks to hold light strings in place.
To prevent moisture from entering bulb sockets, turn the bulbs to face the ground if possible.
Whenever possible, connect all outdoor lighting into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). A GFCI can provide protection from electric shock as it senses leakage current to ground and cuts the electrical power immediately.