Muskoka Fire Prevention Officers offer the following advice to keep you safe from fires this summer. As of July 11, 2017 there have been 46 deaths in Ontario as a result of fires. Please don’t add to that statistic. Make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are up to date and tested as required. Plan and practice your home fire escape plan.
Ten years is the life span of a smoke alarm in your home.
Seven years is the life span of the carbon monoxide alarm in your home, unless you have purchased one in the last year or two in which case it MIGHT be a ten year alarm.
Six months is when we recommend that you change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, unless of course you have purchased the ten year sealed battery type alarm.
One WEEK is the manufacturer’s instruction to owners to TEST their smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarms.
One year is the manufacturer’s instruction to owners to clean their smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarms. This is typically done by using a soft bristle brush on a vacuum and going around the outside of the alarm.
If your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm reaches the end of its service life there will be an intermittent beeping or chirping emanating from the alarm. This is NOT an emergency event requiring you to call 911.
If you have a battery-operated, or battery backup alarm and you have not replaced the battery at the recommended interval, the alarm will again have an intermittent beep or chirp emanating from it.
Again, this is NOT an emergency event requiring you to call 911, as this ties up valuable fire department resources and could delay response to an actual fire.
It is however an EMERGENCY if you do not have a working smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, your life, and the lives of all those in your home are at risk!
Fire departments are required to investigate alarm calls once someone has called 911, similar to the police having to respond to a 911 hang-up, or a 911 call if a child has inadvertently dialed those numbers while playing with a cell phone.
Muskoka fire departments are all staffed with volunteer fire fighters that leave whatever they are doing to respond to their respective stations when the tones go off for an emergency call. When your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is in continuous alarm, not intermittent beeping, it is an emergency and you should call 911 for the fire department to respond.
If your alarm beeps every 30 seconds, or 45 seconds, or 60 seconds, depending upon the manufacturer, and the trouble the alarm is experiencing, please don’t call 911, go back and investigate the ten, seven, six and one rule. Read the manufacturers installation and maintenance instructions.
“If you are experiencing intermittent beeping of your alarm and you have questions, you can call your local fire department’s non-emergency number and someone may be able to assist you in narrowing down the cause” said Doug Holland, Muskoka Lakes Fire Prevention Officer, “if your alarms are hard wired into your homes electrical system we recommend that you contact an electrician to change out your alarms for you” added Holland.
Muskoka Fire Prevention Officers remind you that it is the owner’s responsibility to install and maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation and maintenance instructions. Failure to do so can result in fines that range from $360 to $50 000, but more importantly, failing to have working alarms in your home, cottage, RV, boat or anywhere else that you are sleeping could result in serious injury or death to you and your family.
If you are renting out your property the Ontario Fire Code requires that the owner test the smoke or carbon monoxide alarm after EACH change in tenancy. Failing to do so could result in liability issues in the event a fire injures or kills someone in your rental property.
As of July 11, 2017 there have been 46 deaths in Ontario as a result of fires. Please don’t add to that statistic. Make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are up to date and tested as required. Plan and practice your home fire escape plan.