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March 12, 2010
Change clocks and smoke-alarm batteries this weekend
When you move your clocks forward an hour this weekend for Daylight Saving Time, remember that it’s also time to change your smoke-alarm batteries.

It's the law that every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every level and outside all sleeping areas. By providing an early warning, working smoke alarms give you critical extra seconds to escape from a fire - and can reduce by half your family’s chances of dying in a fire.

Keep the following tips in mind when you buy and install a new smoke alarm:
• When installing the smoke alarm, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for information about correct placement, testing and maintenance.
• Test your smoke alarms every month using the test button.
• Replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year and whenever the low-battery warning chirps.
• Replace smoke alarms with new ones if they are 10 years old (or older).
• Cooking or steam from the shower can cause a smoke alarm to activate. If it does activate for one of those reasons, do not remove the battery. Instead, try relocating the alarm, or purchase a smoke alarm with a “hush button” feature that will enable you to temporarily silence the alarm.

Toronto Fire Chief Bill Stewart encourages families to follow the above steps. “By installing and maintaining a working smoke alarm on every level of your home,” Stewart said, “you are ensuring that your family is equipped with the best defence against the devastating effects of fire.”

It is the responsibility of homeowners to install and maintain their smoke alarms. For rental properties, it is the responsibility of landlords to ensure that their rental properties comply with the law. Rental property tenants who do not have the required number of smoke alarms should contact their landlord immediately. It is also against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with their alarm.

Failure to comply with the Ontario Fire Code smoke alarm requirements could, upon conviction, result in a maximum fine of up to $50,000 for individuals, imprisonment, or both, and up to $100,000 for corporations, or imprisonment, or both.

For further information, visit

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contact:
Toronto Fire Services Media Line, 416-338-0763



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