Fire Code Archives - Code Compliance


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.

 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

November 1, 2014

Protect your family with carbon monoxide alarms; it’s the law in Ontario. If your home has a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage, you must have a working CO alarm adjacent to each sleeping area of the home.
For added protection, install one on every storey of your home according to manufacturer’s instructions that also identify when CO alarms need to be replaced.

 

SECTION 2.16  INSTALLATION OF CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS

Subsection 2.16.1.  Application and Responsibility

Application

2.16.1.1.  (1)  Subject to Sentence (2), this Section applies to every building that contains a residential occupancy and

(a) a fuel-burning appliance,

(b) a fireplace, or

(c) a storage garage.

(2)  This Section applies

(a) as of April 15, 2015, in the case of buildings that contain no more than six suites of residential occupancy, and

(b) as of October 15, 2015, in the case of buildings that contain more than six suites of residential occupancy.

Landlord is responsible

2.16.1.2.  Despite the definition of owner in Article 1.4.1.2. of Division A, in the case of a rental dwelling unit, including a rental dwelling unit subject to Section 9.8, only the landlord shall be considered to be the owner for the purpose of applying Article 1.2.1.1. of Division A to this Section.

 

Subsection 2.16.2.  Installation Requirements

Installation requirements

2.16.2.1.  (1)  If a fuel-burning appliance or a fireplace is installed in a suite of residential occupancy, a carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed adjacent to each sleeping area in the suite.

(2)  If a fuel-burning appliance is installed in a service room that is not in a suite of residential occupancy, a carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed

(a) in the service room, and

(b) adjacent to each sleeping area in each suite of residential occupancy that has a common wall or common floor/ceiling assembly with the service room.

(3)  If a building contains a storage garage, a carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed adjacent to each sleeping area in each suite of residential occupancy that has a common wall or common floor/ceiling assembly with the storage garage.

(4)  A carbon monoxide alarm shall

(a) be permanently connected to an electrical circuit with no disconnect switch between the overcurrent device and the carbon monoxide alarm,

(b) be battery-operated, or

(c) be plugged into an electrical receptacle.

(5)  A carbon monoxide alarm shall meet the requirements of CAN/CSA-6.19, “Residential Carbon Monoxide Alarming Devices” or UL 2034, “Single and Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms”.

(6)  A carbon monoxide alarm shall be mechanically fixed, attached, plugged in or placed at the manufacturer’s recommended height or, if the manufacturer has not recommended a height, on or near the ceiling.

(7)  A carbon monoxide alarm that is installed adjacent to a sleeping area shall be equipped with an alarm that is audible throughout the sleeping area, even if any doors between the carbon monoxide alarm and any parts of the sleeping area are closed.

Fire Code Inspection vs. Retrofit Inspection….

August 1, 2014

Division B Part 9, the retrofit section of the Ontario Fire Code, was adopted almost 20 years ago under Ontario Regulation 627/92. The retrofit requirements of Part 9 in its adoption provided building owners a period of two years in which to comply with the new requirements. The new Code changes essentially were fire protection upgrades for existing buildings to meet a higher minimum performance requirement for life safety.

Since the early adoption of Division B Part 9, there have been additional amendments to further enhance the changing fire protection and safety requirements of existing buildings.  The most recent being Ontario Regulation 150/13 that now requires Long Term Care & Treatment Facilities to sprinkler their buildings by January 1, 2025.  Care or Retirement Homes must be fully sprinklered by January 1, 2019.

A Fire Code inspection goes beyond the application of Division B Part 9 Retrofit to include the provisions of the entire Ontario Fire Code.  For example, Division B Part 2 provides measures for the safety of persons, the elimination or control of fire hazards, and the maintenance of life safety systems.  Division B Part 6 applies to installation, checking, inspection, testing, maintenance and operation of fire protection equipment and life safety systems.

There are many buildings in existence today that are still not retrofitted.  Typically, these buildings “raise a red flag” during a real estate transaction or when the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) receives a complaint or a request for a building inspection.  Completing a retrofit today to bring a building into compliance can be expensive, not to mention the potential for fines, penalties and legal fees should the AHJ decide to prosecute for contravening the Ontario Fire Code.     

To determine if your building required a retrofit, refer to the menu bar within the Retrofit Inspection icon on our web site to find your building applications.

Ontario Passes Law Requiring CO Alarms in Dwelling Units

April 1, 2014

The Ontario Legislative Assembly recently passed a new law that will require every home in Ontario equipped with a fuel burning heating system or solid-fuel burning appliance, or has an attached garages or carport, to have a carbon monoxide alarm.

Bill 77, a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford, passed Third Reading on November 27, 2013 with the unanimous support of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.

The legislation will be implemented through an amendment to the Fire Prevention and Protection Act, 1997 that will be enforced by local fire departments, similar to the requirement for smoke alarms.

A carbon monoxide or CO alarm can be either battery operated, hardwired or plugged in to an electrical outlet. It is recommended that they be located on each level of the home, especially outside sleeping areas. It is also important that the CO alarm be tested regularly to ensure it is in good working order.

Landlords should add testing of the CO alarms to their list of regular fire protection equipment maintenance inspections along with the inspection of smoke alarms.

CO alarms sniff out carbon monoxide, a colourless and odourless gas which can cause brain damage, suffocation or death. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America.

The initial symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning include tiredness, headache, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath and can be confused with the flu. Seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with heart and lung conditions are at greater risk.

Portable Fire Extinguisher Installation Requirements

March 26, 2013

Portable fire extinguishers are required in all buildings and any hazardous process or operation located outside.  Dwelling units used as a domicile by one or more persons that contain cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities are exempt.

Before selecting the correct size or class of portable extinguisher the level of hazard must first be determined. 

 

Level of Hazard;

A light hazard occupancy is where small fires could be expected such as in offices, school rooms, churches, or assembly halls.

An ordinary hazard occupancy is where moderate size fires could be expected, such as in mercantile occupancies, display rooms, auto showrooms, parking garages, light manufacturing, warehouses and school shop areas.

An extra hazard occupancy is where fires of severe magnitude could be expected, such as in woodworking, auto repair, aircraft servicing, mercantile storage areas, warehouses with high-piled combustibles and processes incorporating flammable liquids or combustible liquids.

 

Class of Extinguisher;

Class A  fires are ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics.

Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil.   

Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets.

Class D  fires involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium.  

Class K fires involve cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats in cooking appliances that are typically found in restaurant and cafeteria kitchens.  

 

All buildings must be protected with a Class A portable extinguisher and available for use at all times.  Additional portable extinguisher protection is also required for hazardous occupancies that are determined by the Class of extinguisher that is most suitable.

The minimum fire protection for Class A occupancies within a maximum travel distance of 25 m to an extinguisher is defined in Table 1.

 Table 1

Minimum Extinguisher Rating

Maximum Area of Protection/ Extinguisher for Class A Fires, m2

Light Hazard

Medium Hazard

Extra Hazard

2A

600

300

Not Acceptable

3A

900

400

300

4A

1100

600

400

6A

1100

900

600

10A

1100

1100

900

20A

1100

1100

1100

40A

1100

1100

1100

 

Where flammable and combustible liquids are present, Class B portable extinguishers must meet the requirements of Table 2.  Multiple extinguishers may be used to satisfy the requirement provided not more than three extinguishers are used.

Table 2

Grade of Hazard

Basic Minimum Extinguisher Rating per Unit

Maximum Travel Distance to Extinguishers, m

Light

5B

9

10B

15

Ordinary

10B

9

20B

15

Extra

20B

9

40B

15

 

Class C portable extinguishers are not rated but must conform to the same distribution provisions as Class A and Class B extinguishers and must be provided in or near any service rooms containing electrical equipment.

In a location where combustible metals exist, a Class D portable extinguisher that is suitable for the combustible metal is required and must be located no more than 25 m from the hazard.

Note:  There are circumstances where additional portable extinguisher protection is required.  Please refer to the Ontario Fire Code to ensure that all the regulations are being met.