Reminder – This weekend change your clocks and batteries

When you change your clocks on November 1 for Daylight Savings, remember that it’s also time to change your smoke alarm batteries. As of March 1, 2006, every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every level and outside all sleeping areas. By providing an early warning and critical extra seconds to escape, working smoke alarms can cut your family’s chances of dying in a fire by half.

Use these tips if you plan to purchase and install a new smoke alarm:

When installing smoke alarms, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for information about correct placement, testing and maintenance.

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.

Replace smoke alarms with new ones if they are ten years and older.

Cooking or steam from the shower can cause smoke alarms to activate. Do not remove the battery. Instead, try relocating the alarm or purchase a smoke alarm with a hush button feature that will temporarily silence the alarm.

Toronto Fire Chief Bill Stewart encourages all families to follow these important steps. “By installing and maintaining a working smoke alarm on every level of your home,”Chief Stewart stated, “you are ensuring that your family is equipped with the best defense against the devastating effects of fire.”

It is the responsibility of homeowners to install and maintain their smoke alarms. However, it is the responsibility of landlords to ensure their rental properties also comply with the law. Rental property tenants that do not have the required number of smoke alarms should contact their landlord immediately. It is also against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or to tamper with their alarm 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.

For further information visit http://www.toronto.ca/fire/prevention/smoke_alarms.htm