Ajax Fire reminds families about back to school safety for post-secondary students living off campus


As summer comes to an end, many students will be leaving home and heading back to college or university. If you or a loved one is living off campus this year, Ajax Fire has some important fire safety reminders. 

The following are safety tips that every parent and post-secondary student should consider:

  • It’s the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Rooming houses have specific regulations about smoke alarms or fire alarm systems. In addition to smoke alarms within each unit or suite, apartment buildings and student residences operated by the school may also have a building fire alarm system. Make sure the landlord, administrator or superintendent identifies and explains the fire alarm and detection features in the building and unit.
  • Ontario law requires all homes and apartments to have a working carbon monoxide alarm outside all sleeping areas if there is a fuel-burning appliance or attached garage.
  • If security bars are installed on windows, they should be equipped with a quick-opening device on the inside so the bars can be removed quickly.
  • Every room or apartment requires adequate exits that will permit unobstructed escape from the building. All windows and doors should open fully and easily, and stairways and hallways must not be used for storage of any kind as this can seriously impede an evacuation.
  • In a fire emergency, everyone must know what to do and where to go. Large apartment buildings and student residences require a fire safety plan, which informs the occupants about emergency procedures. Ask the building administrator or superintendent to explain the procedures in the fire safety plan.
  • Smaller apartment buildings and houses that have been converted to apartments or lodging rooms may not have a fire safety plan. It’s a good idea to ensure there are two ways out of the unit. 


Families with students that will be living off campus need to ask the owner if the property complies with the Building Code and Fire Code, and to explain the fire safety features of the accommodations. It is crucial that rental properties for students meet minimum fire safety standards in order to reduce the risk of injury or death should a fire occur.” 

– Shelley Langer, Fire Prevention Inspector, Town of Ajax  

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