Fire Safety at the Cottage

Campfire on beach

It's a beautiful day at the cottage; The birds are chirping, the waters are calm, the sun is shining and a slight breeze sails through the air. Yet, with the falling sun comes the chill of night, signalling a time for marshmallows around the campfire.

No one wants to think of potential problems in this situation, yet fire safety is of utmost importance for Ontario cottagers. You want your time at the cottage to be filled with fun and memorable moments - not the kind that keep you up at night.

Depending on where your cottage is situated, it could take a great deal of time for emergency vehicles to arrive, should a fire start. Thus, prevention is of utmost importance in ensuring the well-being of you, your family and your property.

What Do I Need?

Without a doubt, the two most important items you need to purchase for the inside of your cottage are a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector. If you have a multi-level cottage, make sure you install one on every floor of your cottage and especially in the bedrooms. Detector lifespans range from five to ten years, so you'll want to note the date on which they were installed so that you can be sure to change the batteries or replace the units periodically.

The other necessity for any remote area is a fire extinguisher. Keep one in the kitchen and at least one other in an easily accessible area of the cottage so that you can get to it in case of emergency. If you frequently have campfires, make sure that the task of finding your fire extinguisher doesn't become an exercise in futility by keeping it in a location known to all. Keep in mind that fire extinguishers do need to be recharged; so having an older model that's been used repeatedly will likely not help you out in your time of need.

If you have portable space heaters within your cottage, you'll want to be sure that you keep them at least a metre away from any flammable objects. Be especially careful if you have children or pets, as they may accidentally bump into them and knock them over, increasing the potential for a fire. If you use kerosene heaters, you should exercise extra caution and be sure that you only fill them outside, after they cool down.