Things To Know About Smoke Alarms
Barry came in and asked me the other day if any of our Smoke Alarms needed to be updated yet. He had found a brand new one in some items that had recently been donated to Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs.
So, grabbing the step ladder I proceeded to check all the dates on our current Smoke Alarms. Good thing too! We have 2 Smoke Alarms that expire this year.
However, the Smoke Alarm that Barry had discovered is a hard-wired variety. The ones that we use throughout our home are the battery operated variety.
But, discovering that we have 2 Smoke Alarms that need to be replaced, had me thinking about you and your Smoke Alarms too!
When is the last time you checked the expiry dates on your Smoke Alarms?
The Law About Smoke Alarms
There are laws that require you to have fully operating Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors in your home. Did you know that:
- Smoke Alarms need to be replaced every 10 years
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors need to be replaced every 7 years
You must have a working Smoke Alarm on every floor of your home, and outside of your bedrooms too.
So, whether you are a Homeowner or a Landlord, you must ensure that there enough working Smoke Alarms.
Failure to provide enough working Smoke Alarms could see you facing fines of $360 to $5,000. And as a Landlord, if you are a corporation, your fines could be $100,000.
This is very serious. It is a matter of life and death!
Your Responsibilities As A Tenant
Even as a Tenant, you have responsibilities to ensure the safety of you and your family. Your duties include:
- DO NOT tamper with the Smoke Alarms
- DO NOT remove the batteries, or replace them in the device backwards just to avoid “nuisance” alarms. Remember, this device can save your life!!
- Report any problems with the Smoke Alarm immediately to your Landlord.
- Allow access to the Landlord to test your alarm, replace batteries, or even install new Smoke Alarms
- If you are having a lot of nuisance alarms—There are some things you, as the Tenant, can do. Read more below.
- It is against the law for you to remove the batteries or tamper with the Smoke Alarm. You could be fined $360 to as high as $5,000.
- And you can be evicted under the Tenant/Landlord Act for tampering with Smoke Alarms—this is endangerment to others
Remember, the Smoke Alarm is there to protect you and your family. This is a matter of life and death.
Dealing With Nuisance Alarms As A Tenant
Even as a Tenant, you can reduce the number of nuisance alarms in your apartment. Nuisance alarms are commonly set off by cooking activities. So, if you are experiencing nuisance alarms try doing the following to reduce their number:
- Use the exhaust fan above the stove when cooking
- Clean the top of the stove top after every meal—clean up the spills. Wait until the burners have cooled down, but regularly clean under the burners.
- The oven can be a great offender for setting off a nuisance alarm. Clean the oven on a regular basis as well. Keep spills wiped up. When baking something that might spill over, place a baking sheet underneath it to keep spills to a minimum.
- Buy and use the aluminum trays that you can place on the bottom of the oven. This makes cleaning up spills quick and easy.
- Dump the crumbs out of the toaster and keep it clean. When there is 1/4 cup of crumbs inside it, there is no wondering why it is smoking and setting off the smoke alarm.
These are just a few activities you can do to reduce the number of nuisance alarms that your own cooking activities are setting off.
But the main thing is to keep things clean. Don’t allow grease and spills to build up. Because when you do and you go to use that appliance or pot/pan, yes, it will smoke. Not only does this set off the nuisance Smoke Alarm—it is also a real potential risk of fire as well.
So, don’t ignore nuisance alarms. Instead, see what activities you are doing that are contributing to this.
The safety of your family depends on this. It is a matter of life and death!
Your Responsibilities As A Landlord
As a Landlord, you are ultimately responsible for having working Smoke Alarms in the rental unit. You need to keep track of when they were installed and need replacing.
Make sure you enter the apartment unit annually and have each smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector tested. You need to replace the batteries in battery operated units once a year.
If your tenant contacts you about a continuing nuisance alarm situation, you may need to replace the current alarm with a different type. Do not delay if your Tenant contacts you about a problem with the smoke alarm. It is a matter of life and death.
Do not be afraid to give a Tenant an eviction notice if they continue to tamper with or disable the smoke alarms. Because if you know that you have a tenant who does that, you will also be held responsible if a fire occurs.
So, evict a Tenant who tampers with the smoke alarms. It is a matter of life and death to any other tenants in your building.
Keep in mind that even in an apartment, you may require more than 1 alarm in each unit. You need to have 1 alarm on each floor, as well as, outside the bedrooms. If in doubt check with your local fire station to see what specific rules apply.
We are not discussing all of the fire safety measures that a Landlord could do such as installing sprinkler systems, fire barrier doors, walls, and ceilings. All of those are very important but today we are just discussing smoke alarms.
Lifesaving Things To Know About Smoke Alarms
The smoke alarm is a small device, whether hard wired or battery operated, that can save a life—perhaps yours. So, make sure:
- It is current. What does the replacement date say?
- Is it functioning properly when tested?
- Do you have one on every floor of the building and outside the bedrooms?
- Keep your kitchen and appliances clean. Reduce nuisance alarms.
- Use the kitchen exhaust fan when cooking. Reduce nuisance alarms.
- As a Tenant–Do not tamper with the smoke alarms or remove their batteries. It is a matter of life and death.
- Landlords, ensure all smoke alarms are working properly.
- Evict Tenants who disable or tamper with smoke alarms. It is a matter of life and death.
Now you know a few things about smoke alarms. When is the last time you checked the expiry date on yours?
A Need Not A Want
Since Barry asked me that question about whether any of ours needed changing, we have replaced the one outside the bedroom. Now we are just trying to find the money to replace the other smoke alarm that is ready to expire. We should have it replaced in a few more weeks.
Even on a tight financial budget, adjust things and give the smoke alarm first priority.It is a need, not a want. So even though other things might need to go without right now, the smoke alarm is a need. Replace the smoke alarm quickly.
Make sure your smoke alarms are up to date too! Rearrange your financial budget and replace any smoke alarms as needed. Remember, this is a matter of life and death!