Under provincial legislation, all homes and multi-residential buildings are required to have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels as well as outside all sleeping areas. – Chris Halliday
The Shelburne fire department’s tolerance for those owning properties without working smoke alarms is decreasing at a rapid rate after being called to yet another home that failed to comply with the basic requirements of Ontario’s fire code.
“We find many, many homes that we are called to that aren’t compliant with the basic requirements of the fire code, which is a working smoke alarm on every level and outside of all sleeping areas,” said Shelburne fire Chief Brad Lemaich, noting the same goes for carbon monoxide detectors.
“They are affordable. It’s the law. There is no excuse. $8.99 is what you can purchase a standard, battery-operated smoke alarm for,” he charged. “A smoke alarm costs less than a Big Mac combo at McDonald’s.”
Early Monday morning, April 16, firefighters were called to respond to a fire at a rural home in the Shelburne area. Although nobody inside the building was injured, and firefighters managed to contain the flames in relatively quick order, Lemaich said the home had no working smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.
Lemaich said firefighters are beginning to witness the alarming trend on a regular basis. Under provincial legislation, all homes and multi-residential buildings are required to have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels as well as outside all sleeping areas.
“Did you know that smoke alarms have been required by law in every home since 1998? Did you know that the fine for each missing or non-working smoke alarm is $360?” the fire department recently posted on its Facebook page. “WE don’t know why we still find homes in 2018 that have NO SMOKE ALARMS!”
In the case of Monday’s incident, the fire department declined to lay any charges. For years, Lemaich said the department has preferred to take an “educational approach,” but it appears that is about to change.
The penalty for those failing to have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors under Ontario’s Fire Code is $360 for each required unit. The owners of multi-residential buildings convicted of not having working smoke alarms in court can range from $50,000 per individual or $100,000 for companies.
“Our level of frustration is increasing as we still find a very high number of homes that are not complaint. Our tolerance for noncompliance is somewhat reduced out of frustration,” Lemaich said. “If it takes fines to get the message across, and force people to be compliant, we’re not adverse to doing that.”