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Fire Prevention

Table of Contents

Smoke Alarms
Carbon Monoxide
Wild Fires
Current Fire Safety Education Programs


Install Smoke Alarms, It’s The LAW


As of March 1, 2006, the new smoke alarm legislation came into effect which states that every home in Ontario is required to have operating smoke alarms on each level, this includes the basement. This is an addition to the existing legislation which requires smoke alarms outside of all sleeping areas.

Whether owned or rented, all homes must be in accordance with the new smoke alarm legislation. Failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations

Carbon Monoxide

Sources of Carbon Monoxide


There are numerous potential sources of carbon monoxide in your home. Furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, space heaters, ranges, ovens, fireplaces, wood stoves, charcoal grills and automobiles all produce carbon monoxide. When not properly monitored each of these items could become a lethal weapon.

Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of fatal poisonings in North America. Exposure to high concentrations can cause death in just a few minutes. Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the “”Silent Killer”" because it is colourless, odorless and tasteless, making it almost impossible to detect. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be very vague, and often involve many of the body’s systems. But immediate diagnosis is critical.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • With Low Concentrations
    • Shortage of breath on moderate exertion
    • Slight headache
    • Nausea
    • Running Nose
    • Sore Eyes
    • Dizziness
  • With Higher Concentrations
    • Severe headache
    • Mental confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Vomiting
    • Impairment of vision and hearing
    • Collapse or fainting on exertion
  • With Extreme Concentrations
    • Unconsciousness
    • Brain Damage
    • Coma
    • Death

First Aid

Seek medical attention immediately if anyone shows symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as a severe headache, confusion, dizziness and nausea. Take the exposed person into the fresh air as quickly as possible. Should the affected person stop breathing, begin administering artificial respiration, and administer oxygen if available.

If you find yourself in a situation where you must rescue a person from a contaminated area, you will need an airline respirator or self-contained breathing apparatus. Before deciding to enter a contaminated area ensure that you are part of a rescue team. This means that there must be at least two people involved in any rescue attempts; one person will act as the rescuer and the second person will be the observer. The “rescuer” must always be connected to a lifeline and harness, should the rescuer pass out the observer will be able to pull them out of the contaminated area.

Preventative Measures

Although it is not the law, use the following tips, from, to help protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide:

  1. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. For best results, install detectors near sleeping areas and all fuel-burning appliances. Detectors should never be installed inside or directly outside a bathroom, as high humidity levels can set off the sensors.
  2. Make sure all fuel-burning appliances, systems and chimneys are properly ventilated and are serviced once per year by a qualified service technician or heating contractor.
  3. Check for cracked furnace heat exchangers and improper furnace venting.
  4. Ensure that exhaust fumes from vehicles do not enter your home.
  5. Do not use charcoal grills inside your home, tents, camper vehicles or unventilated garages.
  6. Clean and inspect chimneys and flues once per year to ensure adequate ventilation. Animals, bird nests, snow, ice and other debris can block harmful gases from escaping your chimney.
  7. If your carbon monoxide detector is set off and someone experiences headaches, dizziness or nausea, call 9-1-1 and move everyone outside of the house or building. Do not re-enter until your home is completely aired out and the problem has been corrected.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors


There are three basic types of carbon monoxide sensors metal oxide, biomimetic and electrochemical; these sensors are what allows carbon monoxide detectors to work. Please be aware that while there may be performance differences between three type’s detectors, they have all been tested and approved for use. The cost of a detector will generally relate to the number of features included in the model and its warranty conditions.


There are performance differences between the three types of detector. However, as a result of changes made to the carbon monoxide standards, all detectors regardless of type must undergo extensive testing. All detectors sold in Canada are certified to operate under different environments (various chemical exposures, different relative humidity’s, etc.) satisfactorily if they meet the standards. For more information on carbon monoxide and where it comes from, visit some of the websites listed below:

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Wildfires Cost You!


Wildfire Prevention Week is April 19 to 25, 2009 and this year’s theme, “”Wildfires Cost You”", is aimed at raising awareness of wildfire costs and potential devastating effects.

In Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) responds to an average of 1,350 wildfires per year, including both lightning and human caused fires. Over the past 5 years municipal fire agencies have responded to an average of 4085 wildfires per year within their municipalities across Ontario.


The cost of putting out wildfires is ultimately borne by the taxpayers of Ontario, and it can add up quickly. Considering the costs of outfitting firefighters with appropriate protective clothing, specialized gear and equipment, and aircraft, which can cost up to $8,500.00 per hour, wildfire suppression costs can escalate as quickly as the fires themselves. The real costs associated with wildfires go well beyond the actual dollars required to combat them. The highest associated risk with any wildland fire is to human life and personal property, however, wildfires also result in the loss of forest values, habitat and resources, as well as recreational opportunities.

Approximately half of wildland fires are human caused fires. These are of particular concern as they are preventable. Many of these fires are the result of careless burning practices and failure to properly control and extinguish campfires, grass and brush fires.


An increasing number of people live and recreate in the great outdoors, the risk of preventable wildfires and potential for loss of property and life needs to be addressed by fire agencies and fire departments. FireSmart is a program that includes both prevention and mitigation principles to help reduce the risk of wildfires and to help protect properties from the devastating effects of wildland fires.

MNR, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and the Office of the Fire Marshal are encouraging fire departments to get involved in promoting FireSmart principles in their community for the prevention and mitigation of wildfires during Wildfire Prevention Week and throughout the fire season.

Contact and work with your local MNR Fire Management Headquarters or, in southern Ontario, your local MNR Fire Advisor to help raise awareness about wildfire prevention and being FireSmart.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to act responsibly to prevent wildfires.

The Home Owner’s FireSmart Manual

For contact information:
Look under “”Contact Us”" on the MNR website at:

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Current Fire Safety Education Programs

Fire Smart
Risk Watch