Fire and safety

An inspector checking fire extinguishers to ensure they pass safety regulations.Nobody wants to have to worry about what to do in the case of a fire or large-scale emergency in a condominium. That’s why a safety plan is required so everyone understands what to do in the event of an emergency. Lives could depend on this plan being maintained and being accurate.

Emergency plans

The condominium’s board and property manager must work together to design a safety plan to deal with emergencies such as fire and flooding. The plan should include:

• emergency contact numbers (9-1-1, property manager, etc.)

• the locations of pull stations for fire alarms

• a description of alarm sounds (if the building has a multiple-level alarm system)

• instructions to ensure safe actions during an emergency (such as testing doorknobs before opening doors)

• detailed, safe evacuation routes via stairwells

• a list of occupants with special needs ready for firefighters when they arrive at the building

This plan must be made available to all residents and also to the fire department, EMS, and police upon their arrival, as well as kept at the local fire prevention office. All employees of the condominium should be familiar with the plan and be able to direct residents as necessary.

Smoke alarms

Each unit should be equipped with sufficient smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure proper warning if there is a fire. Disabling smoke alarms is a violation of condominium rules and it could put yours and others’ lives in jeopardy. Each unit should be annually inspected by a fire inspection company to ensure all devices are working.

Fire alarm tests

Tests of the building-wide fire alarm should be done on a regular basis, as required by the fire code, to ensure the system is in working order should a fire or other emergency happen. Residents will be given notice before any testing occurs. In addition, quarterly fire drills may be required in order to practice the safe evacuation of the building, and residents will be given notice when these are going to happen. Although inconvenient, it is an exercise that can save lives if a real emergency happens.

Fire code

All condominiums in Ontario must adhere to the Ontario Fire Code. It is designed to make sure that all occupied buildings in Ontario have the appropriate fire protection equipment, that it is properly maintained, and that fire emergency plans are kept up to date and are properly circulated to residents. 

Visit the Ontario Fire Marshal for further information on fire and safety procedures in condominiums.