Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every story and outside all sleeping areas. This applies to all single family, semi-detached, and town homes, whether owner occupied or rented. A working smoke alarm in the home gives you early warning of a fire. Most fatal fires happen at night when people are sleeping.

Remember to replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old. Smoke alarms do not last forever.

Causes of fires

Common causes of house fires include:

Where to install smoke alarms

Here are a few things to consider when installing your smoke alarm:

  • If anyone in the household sleeps with the bedroom door closed, consider installing a smoke alarm inside the bedroom.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • On floor levels not containing sleeping areas, install smoke alarms in the living area or at stairwells leading to an upper floor.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard of hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Do not install smoke alarms near vents where air movement may prevent the alarm from working.
  • When installing smoke alarms, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • More information on the maintenance of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms can be found here. 

What do I do if my smoke alarm goes off?

  1. Get everyone outdoors immediately.
  2. Call 911 from a safe location.
  3. Ensure all family members meet at the meeting place. Please see our Fire Escape Plan example. 
  4. DO NOT go back in the home for anything. GET OUT AND STAY OUT!!

Smoke Alarm Program

Our Fire Service will attend your residence and test all your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly. To request our fire service at your home fill out the smoke alarm program form.

Test Your Alarms

Test your smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button and listening for the alarm.

Replace Batteries Regularly

  • When a smoke alarms warning beep sounds, replace your battery immediately, never wait.
  • If you have regular batteries it is recommended to change them twice a year at the same time you change your clocks for daylight savings.
  • Some new smoke alarms come with a 10 year sealed battery and do not require you to make battery changes.

Landlord and tenant responsibilities (Refer to Office of the Fire Marshal Guideline)

Landlords must:

  • Install smoke alarms in accordance with the Ontario Fire Code
  • Maintain smoke alarms in operating condition
  • Maintain primary and secondary power supplies that serve smoke alarms
  • Provide the tenant a copy of the manufacturer's maintenance instructions
  • Same is true for carbon monoxide alarms

Tenants must:

  • Not disable the smoke alarm
  • Notify the landlord as soon as you are aware your smoke alarm is not working
  • Same is true for carbon monoxide alarms