The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has been clear: there is a zero tolerance approach to noncompliance with regards to fire safety and fire protection in Toronto. In fact, if you follow the news bulletins on offers from Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety you can see the steep rise of fines, and prosecutions, breaches of fire regulations.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors have been a mandatory requirement in homes and businesses since October of 2014. There is only one type of residence that is exempt from this, and those homes are 100% electric and do not have a garage attached to the home. Deaths due to CO inhalation average at 50 a year for Canada, and 11 in Ontario. Failure to have a CO detector in your home, or in your business offices, can result in fines of up to $100,000.
Having a smoke detector isn’t enough. There must be smoke detectors on every storey of your building, and they are also required outside of every sleeping area. You also need to ensure that they are in working condition. On top of the fines you will also have court costs, and most likely a victim fine surcharge (particularly if you are a business owner, or a landlord). Repeat offenders, or those whose infractions have resulted in injury, can face prison terms of 20 days, right up to 3 years. Further criminal charges can be pressed if death has occurred. While it is the owner’s legal responsibility to provide working smoke detectors, tenants can be fined for tampering with them. If there is an issue with a smoke alarm the tenant must report it to the landlord, failure to do so can result in a fine. Owners of residential buildings would be wise to check the CO alarms, and smoke detectors, when the normal inspection of the home is completed.
Ontario Fire Code and Building Code
Amendments were made to the Ontario Fire Code and Building Code in January of 2014, to ensure long term care facilities and retirement homes are compliant. For instance, fire sprinklers are mandatory and must be installed by the 1st of January, 2019. Each bedroom must have a smoke alarm, emergency lighting is required, self-closing doors and voice communication systems, fire drills must take place annually, staffing levels must be sufficient at all times to ensure safe evacuation of the home in an emergency, there must be records of training with relation to the roles and responsibilities of supervisory staff within the fire safety plan itself. In addition to this the local fire services will validate the fire safety plans on an annual basis to ensure they are up to date.
The Alarming Facts
In homes that were inspected after fires between 2009 and 2013 fire inspectors found that only 44% of homes had smoke alarms, a terrifying 18% of them had no smoke detectors present, while 15% were inoperable. In the case of house fires that resulted in deaths 30% were due to no battery in the smoke alarm, and 14% because the battery was dead. A study completed in 2004, commissioned by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, showed that while 1 in 10 Canadians has experienced a fire in their home 48% of Canadians don’t think they will ever be in a house fire. In fact, while over 60% say they have an escape plan, over 60% of those have not practiced that plan. Perhaps most frightening is the statistic showing that 19% of Canadians have never replaced their smoke detectors batteries. Which is why Steadfast Safety Services is so important to your business. We are available to ensure your detectors are in the correct locations throughout your building, and installed to code.