Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms save lives​

Smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries when they are properly installed and maintained. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. You may only have less than 60 seconds to escape a fire in your home, and only working smoke alarms can give you and your family the early warning you need to safety escape a fire.

Here are some key facts about fires and smoke alarms:

  • Most fires occur at night when people are sleeping.
  • Working smoke alarms can reduce the risk of injury or dying in a residential fire by 50 per cent by providing early warning to residents.
  • 90 per cent of Ontario residents have smoke alarms installed in their homes, of that 90 per cent, two thirds of fatal residential fires occur where smoke alarms were missing or not functioning.
  • Smoke alarms are required to be installed outside sleeping rooms and on every level of your home, including basements.
  • It is a tenant's responsibility to test smoke alarms once a month to ensure the alarm sounds.
  • Toronto Community Housing inspects your smoke alarms at least once per year. If they are not working properly or if they are more than 10 years old, they are replaced.
  • Toronto Community Housing homes are currently equipped with hard-wired smoke alarms without batteries. Smoke alarms can be hard wired, battery operated or a combination of both.
  • Regularly dusting your smoke alarm can keep it working properly.
  • Smoke alarms and alert devices are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you require one, please request it from your superintendent.

Schedule regular tests

  • Test your smoke alarms every month by pressing the test button and listening for the alarm.

Monthly calendar with fire alarm test written on a day
A hand pressing the test button on the smoke alarm
A yearly calendar with a check mark on a day in each month

Missing or broken alarms

  • If your smoke alarm is not operating correctly, tell your superintendent or call the Client Care Centre. Your superintendent will check your smoke alarm and replace it if necessary.
  • If your smoke alarm is missing, tell your superintendent or call the Client Care Centre. Your superintendent will install a new one.
  • Never disable or unplug the smoke alarm, even temporarily, as you may forget to reconnect it. It is against the law to disable your smoke alarm.

A smoke alarm is properly installed outside an open bedroom door
A superintendent is holding a smoke alarm and ladder and a woman is pointing to where the smoke alarm should be installed.

False alarms

  • If you are experiencing a false alarm, there is a hush button that can be pressed on the alarm that will disarm the smoke alarm for a short period to allow air to clear.
  • To prevent false alarms, smoke alarms hsould be at least 10 feet away from your stove. If your alarm needs to be removed, speak with your Superintendent.

A smoke alarm is installed 10 feet away from a stove
A smoke alarm is located right above a stove top and there is a red line through the image to indicate it was wrong

Plan your escape

  • Make sure that everyone knows the sound of the smoke alarm and what to do when they hear it.
  • Create an escape plan and practice with family and friends at least twice a year so you know what to do when you hear the smoke alarm.