General Archives - 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.




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.


First Alert Zero Waste Stewardship Plan

February 1, 2015

The stewardship plan has been developed by First Alert Canada for a Zero Waste program for smoke, carbon monoxide alarms and/or combination alarms sold in Canada through retail and/or electrical wholesaler channels.

The intent of the program is for EPR: Extended Producer Responsibility which is a product and waste management system in which First Alert Canada– not the consumer or government – takes responsibility for the environmentally safe management of our products when they are no longer useful or discarded.

It creates a safer recycling system and it does not pass the cost of the disposal to the government or the tax payer.

This will be done through a collection system across Canada to collect end-of-life residential-use smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and combination alarms. The collected alarms will be transported at First Alert Canada’s cost to our facilities for recycling and other ‘greener’ options.

This plan will also outline the communication efforts that will ensure public awareness of the program and give a full explanation to the consumer how to dispose of their old smoke, carbon monoxide alarms and/or combination alarms.

The Zero Waste program will set up a system of depots nationally, that will be within a reasonable location to the majority of consumers. The depots will be set up within national retail locations, electrical distributors and other partners. will have full program information on the website which includes what Zero Waste items are included in the program and how the consumer can return them. A listing of depots will be easily accessible through inputting a consumer’s postal code and a Google map search will occur.

Smoke Alarm Requirements for New Construction…

January 1, 2015

If you are building or renovating a new home under a building permit, be aware of the new smoke alarm amendment to the 2014 Ontario Building Code O. Reg. 332/12 effective January 1, 2015.

All smoke alarms must now be equipped with a visual signaling component that meets NFPA 72, “National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code”.

Since 2014 under the OBC, smoke alarms are also required in each sleeping room and between the sleeping rooms and on every storey.  Smoke alarms must also be installed in hallways that serve a sleeping room.

The smoke alarm installation requirement for existing buildings has not changed.  Under the current Ontario Fire Code O. Reg. 213/07, homes in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.

 imagesE26PV028  Smoke Alarms

(1)  Except as permitted by Sentence (6), smoke alarms conforming to CAN/ULC-S531, “Smoke Alarms”, shall be installed in each dwelling unit and, except for care or detention occupancies required to have a fire alarm system, in each sleeping room not within a dwelling unit.

(2)  At least one smoke alarm shall be installed on each storey and mezzanine of a dwelling unit.

(3)  On any storey of a dwelling unit containing sleeping rooms, a smoke alarm shall be installed in,

(a) each sleeping room, and

(b) a location between the sleeping rooms and the remainder of the storey, and if the sleeping rooms are served by a hallway, the smoke alarm shall be located in the hallway.

(4)  A smoke alarm shall be installed on or near the ceiling.

(5)  Except as permitted by Sentence (6), smoke alarms required by Sentence (1) shall,

(a) be installed with permanent connections to an electrical circuit,

(b) have no disconnect switch between the overcurrent device and the smoke alarm, and

(c) in case the regular power supply to the smoke alarm is interrupted, be provided with a battery as an alternative power source that can continue to provide power to the smoke alarm for a period of not less than seven days in the normal condition, followed by 4 min of alarm.

(6)  …

(7)  …

(8)  If more than one smoke alarm is required in a dwelling unit, the smoke alarms shall be wired so that the actuation of one smoke alarm will cause all smoke alarms within the dwelling unit to sound.

(9)  A smoke alarm required by Sentence (1) shall be installed in conformance with CAN/ULC-S553, “Installation of Smoke Alarms”.

(10)  …

(11)  …

(12)  …

(13)  Smoke alarms described in Sentence (1) shall have a visual signaling component conforming to the requirements in 18.5.3. (Light, Color and Pulse Characteristics) of NFPA 72, “National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code”.


9.10.19.  Smoke Alarms  Required Smoke Alarms

(1)  Smoke alarms conforming to CAN/ULC-S531, “Smoke Alarms”, shall be installed in each dwelling unit and in each sleeping room not within a dwelling unit.

(2)  Smoke alarms described in Sentence (1) shall have a visual signaling component conforming to the requirements in 18.5.3. (Light, Color and Pulse Characteristics) of NFPA 72, “National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code”.  Location of Smoke Alarms

(1)  Within dwelling units, sufficient smoke alarms shall be installed so that,

(a) there is at least one smoke alarm installed on each storey, including basements, and

(b) on any storey of a dwelling unit containing sleeping rooms, a smoke alarm is installed,

(i) in each sleeping room, and

(ii) in a location between the sleeping rooms and the remainder of the storey, and if the sleeping rooms are served by a hallway, the smoke alarm shall be located in the hallway.

(2)  A smoke alarm required in Sentence (1) shall be installed in conformance with CAN/ULC-S553, “Installation of Smoke Alarms”.

(3)  Smoke alarms required in Article and Sentence (1) shall be installed on or near the ceiling.

Certified vs. Uncertified Solid-Fuel Burning Appliances

December 1, 2014

A solid-fuel burning  appliance that has been tested and certified as complying with a safety standard will carry a label specifying minimum clearances to combustible material.  These clearances are determined by firing the solid-fuel appliance at peak output and measuring the temperatures on the test enclosure walls, floors and ceiling.  These clearances are almost always accepted as safe by the regulatory authorities.

There are only two main standard-writing organizations in the field of solid fuels however, there are four recognized testing and certification agencies; CSA, ULC, OTL and Warnock Hersey Professional Services.

To have a product certified, the manufacturer submits a sample for testing to the certification agency, along with engineering drawings, promotional brochures and an installation manual.  The agency then performs the tests specified in the safety testing standard and, if the appliance meets the requirements, the procedure continues.

The installation manual is then checked for accuracy and completeness of information, such as the warnings and cautions required by the standard.

When all the work is completed, the agency prepares a test report documenting its findings.  The testing agency then sells the approved certification label to the manufacturer.  The certification agency places strict conditions on the production of appliances and the use of the label.

The certification agency has a direct stake in the quality and consistency of the products bearing its logo on the label.  The label confirms that the product meets a safety standard.

Technicians and inspectors should follow the rule of the certification agencies; that a product is not certified unless the label is attached.

How do you dispose of used ionization smoke alarms?

September 1, 2014

An international study by radiation safety experts determined that domestic smoke alarms would not pose a health or safety threat to the public, or to waste disposal workers, if they were thrown out with regular garbage.

There is therefore no need for any special care in the disposal of used smoke alarms. They can be safely included with other household waste for disposal.

Emergency Preparedness Week … May 4 -10, 2014

May 1, 2014


Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. In an emergency, you will need some basic supplies and may need to get by without power or tap water. You may already have some of the necessary items such as food, water and a battery operated or wind-up flashlight but, the key is to make sure they are organized and easy to find.  Make sure your kit is easy to carry and everyone in the household knows where it is.  Keep it in a backpack, duffle bag or suitcase with wheels, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front-hall closet. 


Basic Emergency Kit Items

You may have some of these basic emergency kit items already, such as a flashlight, battery-operated radio, food, water and blankets. The key is to make sure they are organized, easy to find and easy to carry (in a suitcase with wheels or in a backpack) in case you need to evacuate your home. Whatever you do, don’t wait for a disaster to happen.

Easy to Carry

Think of ways that you can pack your emergency kit so that you and those on your emergency plan can easily take the items with you, if necessary.


Two litres of water per person per day (Include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order).


That won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (remember to replace the food and water once a year).

Manual can opener

Flashlight and batteries

Battery-powered or wind-up radio

Extra batteries

First aid kit

Special Needs Items 

Prescription medications, infant formula

Equipment for people with disabilities

Extra keys for your car and house 


Include smaller bills, such as $10 bills (traveller’s cheques are also useful) and change for payphones.

Emergency Plan

Include a copy of it and ensure it contains in-town and out-of-town contact information.


January 1, 2014

New Years 2014(1)

What is Carbon Monoxide?

October 1, 2013

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “silent killer “, it prevents the body from getting oxygen. Symptoms can be flu-like: nausea, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, sleepiness, weakness.  It is invisible, tasteless, odorless and non-irritating.  In large amounts, CO can cause loss of consciousness, brain damage or death in minutes.

If you suspect CO poisoning, open all the windows and doors and get out of the building into fresh air immediately, call 9-1-1.  If you or someone else is experiencing symptoms, go to the hospital emergency room immediately and tell the physician you suspect CO poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is produced from burning fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas, propane, gasoline and kerosene.  Here are a few precautions you can take to prevent CO poisoning;

Never run generators in indoor spaces, such as garages, basements, porches, crawlspaces or sheds, or in partly-enclosed spaces such as carports or breezeways. Generators should only be operated outside, far away from and downwind of buildings.

Never use a gas range or oven for warmth. Using a gas range or oven for warmth can cause a buildup of toxic carbon monoxide (CO) inside your home, cabin, vehicle or camper.

Never use a charcoal grill or a barbecue grill in your home or garage. Using a grill indoors will cause a buildup of toxic CO.

Never start up or run any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, generators or other small motors) in enclosed spaces.

Never use a stove or fireplace unless it is properly installed and vented. Annually, have it inspected and have oil and gas heat and hot water systems serviced.

Never run your car or truck or motorcycle inside a garage that is attached to a house or in a detached garage with the garage door shut; open the door to remove CO and other toxic gases in the exhaust.

Install a certified battery-powered or hardwired/ battery back-up CO detector in your home.  Carefully follow manufacturers’ instructions and check the batteries twice a year.

If the CO detector alarm sounds, get out of the building immediately and call 9-1-1.  Remember that preventing the presence of carbon monoxide is better than relying on an alarm.