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For the occupants of a dwelling unit

Safety devices

If a fire breaks out inside the building where you inhabit, would the fire alarm be actuated in time to allow you to evacuate the premises safely? As a tenant in an apartment dwelling, this question is must be of concern to you.

The law defines as an apartment dwelling any apartment building of more than two (2) storeys and featuring more than eight (8) dwellings, as well as rooming houses including at least ten (10) rooms.

Have safety devices installed

Alarm and detection devices which are in good condition will alert you to the presence of a hazardous condition.

Smoke alarm

A smoke alarm is necessary to warn you in time that a fire is starting. It can save your life and your neighbours' lives as well.

Previously, it was recommended to change your smoke alarm battery twice a year, coinciding with the time change. This was to ensure the battery was always working. However, to reduce the quantity of hazardous household waste, it is now suggested that you check regularly if the battery is working instead of systematically throwing out a battery twice a year.

The ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec recommends that you check the smoke alarm once a month and replace the battery when the alarm emits an intermittent audible signal. If your smoke alarm is electric, it must never be disconnected and you must check regularly that it is working normally.

Any smoke alarm with a manufacturing date more than 10 years old must be replaced, even if it seems to be working. You will find this date on the smoke alarm. If there is no date, this means the alarm is more than 10 years old and must be changed.

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors

It is recommended to install a carbon monoxide (CO) detectors inside buildings whose heating system is gas-fired or fuel oil-fired, or if your apartment unit contains a range, a fireplace or any other appliance powered with gas.

In fact, to prevent CO emanations, we advise owners to have their heating systems verified by a specialist at least once a year, that is before the onset of the heating season.

Alarm systems

A smoke alarm does alert you of the presence of a hazard inside your dwelling unit. However, in order for all persons occupying the building to also be alerted, a fire detection and alarm system is often required to be installed throughout the building, and the audible alarm device of such a system must be powerful enough to be heard by all tenants inside the building.

An alarm system includes fire detectors, ringing devices, as well as manual alarm initiators. The manual initiators can usually be found near the exit staircases. To ensure your safety and the one of all the occupants of the building, memorize the location of these initiators so that you may act promptly in case a fire breaks out.

The owner of your building must verify periodically the proper operation of the alarm system to make sure that it will be functional when the moment comes. A defective alarm system can be a factor of casualty for the persons who will not have been alerted promptly enough to evacuate the building.

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