The Ontario Fire Code requires that every home has smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to warn you in time to get out safely. It is also important to have a portable fire extinguisher in your home. These items save lives - take them seriously.

Smoke Alarms

Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.

It's the law. Failure to comply with the fire code smoke alarm requirements can result in tickets and substantial fines for individuals and corporations.


You must install and maintain smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside sleeping areas.

When installing smoke alarms, refer to the manufacturer's instructions for information about correct placement.

Do not install smoke alarms:

  • in or next to kitchens or bathrooms
  • near air vents
  • near windows
  • near ceiling fans

These locations will result in too many “false alarms” and can make you learn to ignore the alarm.

If your smoke alarm frequently activates when you're cooking, do not remove the battery. Ever. Instead, consider moving the alarm to another location or replacing it with a photoelectric unit.


Test your smoke alarms every month using the test button.


We recommend changing your battery every six months when it's time to change your clocks. This includes batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Remember to test the smoke alarm after installing a new battery.


Smoke alarms don't last forever. They are required to be replaced within the time frame indicated by the manufacturer. This is usually ten years.

When replacing interconnected smoke alarms, it is advisable to replace all units in the system at the same time. If you need to replace a single malfunctioning alarm, make sure the new alarm is compatible with the existing units.


It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure their rental properties comply with the law.


If you are a tenant of a rental property and do not have the required number of smoke alarms, contact your landlord immediately. It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with the alarm in any way.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide poisoning  can be deadly. By law, all homes must have a carbon monoxide alarm if:

  • it has any fuel-burning appliances; or
  • an attached garage


Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed next to each sleeping area. For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of the home according to manufacturer's instructions.


It is recommended that carbon monoxide alarms be tested monthly or in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.


Replace batteries in carbon monoxide alarms once a year or whenever the low-battery warning sounds.

Know the difference between a low-battery warning and an emergency alarm – consult the CO alarm manufacturer's instructions.


Like smoke alarms, CO alarms do not last forever. Replace your alarm in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Know what the “end-of-life” warning sounds like – consult the CO alarm manufacturer's instructions.


Landlords are responsible to ensure working carbon monoxide alarms are installed and maintained in their rental properties. The law requires landlords to test CO alarms in rental units annually and also when the battery is replaced, changes are made to the electric circuit, or a change in tenancy occurs. CO alarms must be tested by pressing the test button. Landlords must provide CO alarm manufacturer's maintenance instructions to tenants.


The law requires tenants to notify the landlord if the CO alarm is inoperable. It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with the alarm in any way.

Fire Extinguishers

In most cases, the best thing to do in a home fire is to get everyone out of the home immediately and call 9-1-1 from outside.

If you purchase a fire extinguisher for your home, make sure that you know how and when to use it. We provide fire extinguisher training and are happy to answer your questions.

Choosing a fire extinguisher

Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher that has an ABC rating. This type can be used for most types of fires. Choose a fire extinguisher that has the logo of an independent, accredited product safety testing agency such as ULC.

Installation and maintenance

Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding where the extinguisher should be placed in the home. Inspect the fire extinguisher once a month and have it serviced by a certified technician every year.

Using a fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers should be used only on small, contained fires. Never let the fire get between you and the exit.

To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:

  • Pull the pin;
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire;
  • Squeeze the trigger;
  • Sweep the extinguisher from side to side until the extinguisher is empty.

Know when to go. If the fire does not go out after using one fire extinguisher, back out of the area, close the door if possible, and safely get outside and call 9-1-1.

Remember that many stovetop fires can be safely extinguished without the use of a fire extinguisher. If a pot on the stove starts on fire, slide a lid over the pot to smother the flames and turn off the stove. Leave the pot in place until it has cooled completely.

Contact Us

Clarence-Rockland Fire Department