Guelph Fire reminds residents, landlords, business owners about fire code compliance

Guelph, ON, June 30, 2015 – The Guelph Fire Department is reminding residents, landlords, and business owners to know and understand the Ontario Fire Code as well as the municipal fire prevention by-law.

This follows a recent increase in fire code violations in the city that have resulted in the Fire Prevention division issuing charges under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. In the most recent ruling, a Guelph landlord was fined $200,000 for failing to comply with multiple inspection orders issued by fire prevention officers in a multi-unit residential building. If convicted in a court of law, penalties can include fines and possible jail time.

“Residents, landlords, and business owners are responsible for comprehending and complying with the Ontario Fire Code and the Guelph Fire Department is responsible for its enforcement,” explains Matt Valeriote, assistant chief fire prevention officer.

Valeriote says the most common violations observed during fire inspections are: failure to install or maintain smoke alarms in dwelling units; failure to conduct required maintenance on fire alarm systems and fire protection equipment; obstructions and combustible materials accumulating in a means of egress; failure to prepare and implement a fire safety plan in buildings requiring a fire safety plan; and fire doors being propped open.

He adds, “Fire occurs more often than most people realize and the majority of fires occur in residential buildings. The chance of occupant survival decreases when fire code violations exist.”

The Guelph Fire Department is also reminding the public about carbon monoxide alarms, outdoor or recreational fires, and use of fireworks in the city.

Carbon monoxide alarms

To keep families in safe, the province updated Ontario’s Fire Code making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all residential homes. Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, is known as a silent killer because it is colourless, odourless, and tasteless.

The regulation requires homeowners and landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms in all homes with a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace, or attached garage.

“Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall and are to be placed adjacent to all sleeping areas. These devices can save lives,” says Valeriote.

Outdoor or recreational fires

Outdoor fire pits, chimineas and other similar devices are not permitted in Guelph even though they can be purchased at retail outlets throughout the city.

Open air burning is not permitted unless used to cook food on a grill, barbecue or spit, commensurate with the type and quantity of food being cooked and is restricted to a small, confined fire that is supervised at all times. Once cooking is complete, the fire must be extinguished. Cooking does not include roasting marshmallows or hot dogs.

Under the Fire Code, propane fuelled or natural gas fuelled appliances that simulate a campfire or fireplace are permitted outdoors. The appliance must be in compliance with the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 and residents must install and use these appliances in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

If the fire department receives a complaint and responds to the address, the owner/tenant will be asked to extinguish the fire immediately. Failure to comply with open air burning regulation is an offence for which a person can be charged under the Fire Code.

Fireworks

In Canada, a person must be 18 years or older to discharge fireworks. In Guelph, fireworks are permitted only on Victoria Day, Canada Day and Diwali, and the day preceding Victoria Day and Canada Day, between 9 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.

Visit guelph.ca/fire for more fire safety information.

For more information

Matt Valeriote
Assistant Chief Fire Prevention Officer
Emergency Services
519-822-1260 extension 2133
matt.valeriote@guelph.ca