Blog - Code Compliance

Extension Cord Power Ratings…..

January 1, 2016

It’s critical that you choose an extension cord that can handle the power requirements of the devices you are connecting. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Be aware of the amperage of your tools; this will ensure you have an extension cord that is rated to be used under such amperage.
  • Remember “amps = watts/voltage”
  • It is not uncommon to find that your cord does not include a maximum amperage rating. We have included below a cord gauge vs amperage diagram to help you choose the right extension cord.




Fireplace & Wood Stove Safety

December 1, 2015

Many of us today use solid fuel-fired appliances as a primary heat sources in our homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with solid fuels. Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and fluepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.

Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and combustible materials.
  • Make sure the fire gets enough air to ensure complete combustion and keep creosote from building up in the chimney. Otherwise creosote buildup could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Ensure that the appliance is (or was) installed by a WETT certified technician or have it inspected.

Safely Burn Fuels

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.

Clothes Dryer Safety Tips

November 1, 2015

A leading cause of dryer fires in homes is the lack of dryer maintenance. Homeowners are reminded to take the following precautions:


  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • If you are installing your own dryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions before installing the dryer vent. Determine the straightest and most direct venting path to the outdoors to reduce the likelihood of lint accumulation in bends or elbows.
  • Use rigid or flexible metal ducting for venting to the outdoors. Plastic or metal foil ducts are more prone to kinking, sagging and crushing, which leads to lint build-up. Plastic ducting is also more prone to ignition and melting.
  • Clothes dryers located in closet-type spaces or totally enclosed rooms (e.g. in apartments) should have sufficient incoming air for proper operation (see manufacturer’s instructions).


  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the safe use of the dryer.
  • Inspect and clean the lint screen after each load of laundry. The build-up of lint can lead to a fire. Regularly remove lint from metal ducts and exhaust vents. The inside of the dryer cabinet should be cleaned as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Regularly inspect the air exhaust to ensure it is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is operating.
  • Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer clear of items that can burn.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home if using a natural gas or propane dryer.
  • Ensure there are working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas.

Do Not:

  • Overload the dryer.
  • Exhaust the dryer indoors.
  • Dry materials or fabrics that have been saturated by chemicals, oils or gasoline (e.g. mops and towels and cloths saturated with wax, flammable solvents or vegetable oils). Even after washing, these substances can start a fire during the drying cycle.
  • Dry natural or synthetic rubber, rubber-coated sneakers, galoshes, foam pillows or any garment with foam padding (e.g. blouses with shoulder pads, bras, bicycle shorts)
  • Dry garments that have been cleaned with dry-cleaning fluid.
  • Use a dryer without a lint filter, or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.

$1,875 fine to tenant after disabling smoke alarms in a Woodstock home…

October 1, 2015

After responding to a blaze in a Woodstock home on July 4th, the Woodstock Fire Prevention Bureau determined that the tenant had disabled the buildings smoke alarms.  During the post-fire inspection, it was determined that there were no working smoke alarms at the time of the fire.

Further investigation led to charges being filed against the tenant. During an October 1st, 2015 court appearance, the tenant pled guilty to disabling a smoke alarm and, failing to notify the landlord that the smoke alarm installed on the basement level was disabled. The tenant received a total fine of $1,500 and a victim fine surcharge totaling $1,875.

The Ontario Fire Code requires working smoke alarms on every floor of a home and outside all sleeping areas.

The owners/landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining smoke alarms, including battery replacement.

The tenants are now also required to notify the owner/landlord of any issue surrounding missing/damaged/non-functioning smoke alarms.

Dupont’s Self-Charging Smoke Alarm

September 1, 2015

Today, most homes are pre-wired for hard-wired smoke alarms usually with a battery backup.  There are countless dwelling units however with battery-only devices that go unchecked.

In many homes the battery operated smoke alarms can also be poorly positioned when installed. Dupont’s Self-Charging Smoke Alarm addresses these problems by integrating a smoke alarm with rechargeable battery in a pass-through light bulb socket.  The self-charging smoke alarm can be installed in every room if you so choose.

The Dupont Self-Charging Smoke Alarm can also be tested by flipping the light switch twice or three times to silence the alarm and reset the device.

Dupont's Smoke Alarm

RV Smoke Alarm and Propane Detection Equipment

August 1, 2015

Being safe in your RV is something that many people may take for granted.  Today all manufactured RVs come equipped with a smoke alarm and a propane alarm.


Smoke Alarms

Be sure to install new batteries at least once a year, and test the smoke alarm every month.

If you’re installing a smoke alarm on an older RV, mount it on the ceiling.  Smoke rises quickly, the smoke alarm will provide early detection giving you more time to get out in an emergency.


Propane Gas Detection

Propane gas detectors are a key element of RV propane systems in RVs. They must endure constant vibration and jarring while traveling down the highways.  This constant movement greatly increases the possibility of damaging the plumbing required to deliver propane to your gas appliances.

Most RVs you have a furnace, a stove (possibly with an oven), a refrigerator, and a water heater.  That’s a lot of pilot lights or electronic igniters that must all function correctly every time.

Something as simple as turning the knobs for the stovetop the wrong direction can easily leave raw propane escaping into your living space.

In current- and late-model motorhomes, when the propane alarm sounds it also cuts off the flow of gas from the tank to the motorhome appliances.  Be aware of this — because any appliance that relies on a burning pilot light to function will need to be re-lit at the point gas pressure is restored.


Two Recent Poisonings Prompt Warnings About Propane Coolers

July 1, 2015

Campers are no longer limited to using frozen water. There are a variety of new coolers on the market that work like portable refrigerators. They can run off your car battery, or even propane.

Recent cases of carbon monoxide poisoning has highlighted the danger of using propane coolers, especially in an enclosed area.

An 11-year-boy died near Parry Sound sleeping in the family van while a propane cooler was operating inside. In Burks Falls, a woman died sleeping in a cottage. It’s believed her death was caused by fumes from a propane cooler as well.

The Technical Safety Standards Authority has launched a formal investigation into the two deaths.

There are four different models of propane coolers approved for use in Canada. The coolers approved by the Canadian Standards Association and has several labels that warn to use it in ventilated areas.

The two deaths are a powerful reminder that carbon monoxide is always a danger where there is combustion.

It is important to always make sure propane coolers are operated where it is well ventilated, the manufacturer’s recommendations are followed, the unit is CSA approved and, it has all of the warning labels in place.


Using Oxygen at Home…

June 1, 2015

If you need oxygen at home, it is important to learn how to use and take care of your equipment safely. This information will help you get the most from your oxygen treatment.

Do not light candles, lanterns, fires, and cookers or smoke while you are wearing your oxygen. There is a serious risk of fire or burns.

Oxygen is a fire hazard so follow safety measures to keep you and you’re family safe. Never smoke or let anyone else smoke while you are using oxygen. Put up “no smoking signs”, and be aware of people smoking near you if you are using your oxygen outside of your home.

Keep oxygen at least six feet (two metres) away from flames or heat sources such as gas cookers, paraffin or gas heaters, candles, cigarettes, cigars and fireplaces.

Do not use flammable products, such as cleaning fluid, paint thinner, petroleum based creams or aerosols, while you are using oxygen.

Keep a fire extinguisher at home within easy reach.

Keep oxygen cylinders upright. Make sure they do not fall over and get damaged, especially when travelling in a vehicle. Ask your supplier for a transport box.

Inform your local fire department that you have oxygen at home. They can advise you on how to keep safe.

Ensure you have smoke alarms within your home that are in working order (the local fire service can advise you and supply you with them).

If you have portable (ambulatory) oxygen, make sure you have an oxygen sticker for your car in case you are in an accident, speak to your oxygen supplier about safe transport of your oxygen.

Owners Face up to $1.95M in Fines after a Fatal Kensington Market Fire

May 1, 2015

After a fire at an allegedly illegal rooming house in Kensington Market left two dead and 10 injured in March, the owners and their son-in-law are facing fines of up to $650,000 each for possible fire code violations.

Buu Vuong, Khanh Ly Diep and Trinh Lam each face 13 charges including failing to maintain smoke alarms in operating condition, failing to provide and clearly mark at least two exits per floor and failing to provide at least one fire extinguisher on each floor, according to court documents.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and one year in jail.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Vuong, Diep and Lam could not be reached for comment.

It’s believed that at least a dozen people lived in units on two floors above a Korean restaurant at 6 St. Andrew St. — a property that has never been licensed as a rooming house by the city.

Neighbours said many of the residents were single, adult men from China and Vietnam, at the time of the fire.

Two children, aged 1 and 3, as well as an unconscious woman were also rescued from the blaze.

The property was allegedly operating as an illegal rooming house, under section 9.3 of the Fire code, said Capt. Cathy Robertson of the Toronto Fire Services legal division.

Section 9.3 applies to three-storey or smaller buildings where rooms are rented to more than four people. It outlines specific fire safety requirements including interconnected smoke alarm systems, fire separations, at least two clearly marked exits per floor and emergency lighting in stairwells and corridors.

In June, the owner of an illegal rooming house on Gladstone Ave. was ordered to pay $290,000 in fines and $70,000 in court costs after being charged with similar offences.

New Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements for Residential Dwellings

April 1, 2015

The compliance date of April 15, 2015 is closing for homeowners and property owners of buildings that contain a total of six suites or less. A working carbon monoxide alarm must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area if the building has a fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage.

Fuel-burning appliances include furnaces, hot water heaters, gas or wood fireplaces, portable fuel-burning heaters and generators, barbeques, stoves and vehicles.
Apartments and condos also require a carbon monoxide alarm to be installed adjacent to each sleeping area where there is a fuel-burning appliance present.

Buildings with a service room require a carbon monoxide alarm to be installed in the service room and adjacent to each sleeping area of all dwelling units above, below and beside the service room.

Similarly, if a building has a garage, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed adjacent to each sleeping area of all dwelling units above, below and beside the garage.
For added protection, a carbon monoxide alarm should be installed on every storey of the home according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Failing to install a carbon monoxide alarm is a serious matter. An individual convicted of an offence for contravention of the fire code could receive a fine up to $50,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both.