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Working Smoke Alarms: Itís The Law!

Some of the most law-abiding people are unknowingly breaking the law every day. Not for robbery, or speeding, or assault. But simply because they donít have working smoke alarms in their homes. The Ontario Fire Code now requires homes to have working smoke alarms on every storey. There is also a requirement of having smoke alarms outside all sleeping areas. The law applies to all single-family, semi-detached and town homes, whether owner-occupied or rented.

For homeowners, that may mean purchasing additional smoke alarms and installing them on every storey of their home and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to do so could result in a ticket for $235.

Landlords must make sure their rental properties comply with the law. Individual landlords who fail to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements can face penalties of up to $50,000.

Tenants of rental properties are encouraged to contact their landlords immediately if they do not have the required number of smoke alarms. Once smoke alarms are installed, tenants cannot remove the batteries or tamper with the alarm in any way. If they do so, the tenant could receive a ticket for $235.

The Fire Code amendment came into effect on March 1, 2006. Fire departments will be enforcing the regulation in communities throughout Ontario.

Ontario fire statistics reveal that in about 50 per cent of fatal home fires, the victims had no smoke alarm warning.

Think of smoke alarms as seatbelts for your home, you wish you didnít have to use them, but when they are needed and they protect you and your family from harm, you are forever grateful that they were there and that they were working.

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