A working smoke alarm in the home gives you early warning of a fire. Most fatal fires happen at night when people are sleeping. A working smoke alarm will detect smoke and sound to alert you. The Ontario Fire Code requires every home to have one or more working smoke alarm(s). Find out more about the smoke alarm fire safety campaign below.

The Fire Safety Campaign for Single-Family Homes is reminding all residents that a residential fire could mean life or death. Make sure your smoke alarms are working.

Smoke alarm on ceiling with smoke and text beneath

This campaign originated from research conducted by Toronto Fire Services demonstrating that in the last 5 years, 59% of fires in single family residential homes across the city did not have a working smoke alarm.

The campaign also provides a QR code or link for residents to embed reminder dates in their mobile phone or computer calendars to change their smoke alarm batteries every six months.

Smoke alarm on ceiling with text and smoke below

Additional messages/safety tips include:

  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas
  • Change your smoke alarm batteries every 6 months
  • Smoke alarms don’t last forever, replace them every 10 years
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they work

There are many different types of smoke alarms to choose from. Smoke alarms can be electrically connected, battery-operated or both. When replacing a smoke alarm you must replace it with the same type (battery, electrically connected, or both).

Smoke alarms must be on every level of your home and near each sleeping area. Remember to replace alarms that are more than 10 years old. Smoke alarms don’t last forever. Depending on the age of your home smoke alarms may also be located inside each bedroom as well.

Because smoke rises, it is recommended that you place the alarms on the ceiling. Avoid ceilings near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows and ceiling fans. Always follow the manufacturers instructions when installing smoke alarms.

Test your smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button and listening for the alarm.

When a smoke alarms warning beeps sound, replace your battery immediately, never wait. If you have regular batteries it is recommended to change them twice a year at the same time you change your clocks for daylight savings. Some new smoke alarms come with a 10 year sealed battery and do not require you to make battery changes.

Prevent dust from clogging your smoke alarms by gently vacuuming them with a soft brush every six months. Never vacuum electrically connected alarms unless you shut off the power. Test each unit when finished.

Make a home escape plan. Draw a floor plan showing how you and your family would escape a fire in your home. Look for two ways out of each room and have a pre-arranged meeting place outside. Regularly practice with every member of your home. After everyone is outside, call 9-1-1 from a safe location.


Landlords must:

  • Install smoke alarms in accordance with the Ontario Fire Code
  • Maintain smoke alarms in operating condition
  • Maintain primary and secondary power supplies that serve smoke alarms
  • Provide the tenant a copy of the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions
  • The same is true for carbon monoxide alarms

Tenants must:

  • Not disable the smoke alarm
  • Notify the landlord as soon as you are aware the smoke alarm in the unit is disconnected, not operating or the operation is impaired
  • The same is true for carbon monoxide alarms

What do tenants do if the landlord does not provide working smoke alarms as required?

  • Call 311 for a referral to Toronto Fire Services and a Fire Inspector will attend

The penalties for violating these requirements under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act (FPPA) are:

  • $50,000 and/or 1 year in jail for an individual
  • $100,000 for a corporation