Stay Safe at the Cottage with our Fire Safety Guide

Guest Contributor August 01, 2019

We love our cottages in Ontario. We love getting close to nature, walking in the woods, waterskiing, canoeing or just hanging out on the lake. And, of course, we love sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows and maybe telling spooky stories.

These are the moments memories are made of, and the last thing you want is your memories going up in flames, literally. In case of fire, depending on where your cottage is located, it could take a long time for emergency vehicles to arrive and by the time they get there, your property could be destroyed.

Fire prevention and control should be top of mind for Ontario cottagers to ensure the safety of your loved ones and your property.

Fire Prevention and Detection.

Detecting a fire fast and early is key to staying safe and saving your property. Two of the most important items you must have for the inside of your cottage are a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector. If you have a multi-level cottage, install one of each of these on every floor and especially in the bedrooms. Detector lifespans range from five to ten years, so be sure to make a note of the date on which they were installed and change the batteries or replace the units periodically.

Fire extinguishers are another must-have. Keep one in the kitchen, at least one other in an easily accessible area of the cottage where you can get to it in case of emergency and preferably one or more on each floor. If you have campfires, make sure that there is an accessible fire extinguisher near the fire site. Everyone should know where the fire extinguishers are.

Fire extinguishers need to be recharged immediately after use and periodically throughout their lifetime, even if they have never been used. Inspect your fire extinguishers regularly.

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

Have a Plan in Case of Fire.

You must have a plan in case of a fire. The plan should include: identifying escape routes, locations of the fire extinguishers, where to meet if you get separated, relevant local phone numbers and any other pertinent information. Make sure that all family members and cottage guests are aware of the plan.

Keep an Emergency Kit on Hand at All Times.

Be sure to always have a first-aid kit and additional safety materials on hand. You should also have an emergency road kit in your car. Your basic cottage emergency kit should include:

  • First-aid kit.
  • Water and/or a metal kettle that can be used over an open flame to boil drinking water.
  • Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried goods (replace food and water once a year).
  • Manual can opener.
  • Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries that should be replaced once a year).
  • Extra car keys.
  • Some cash.
  • Candles and waterproof matches.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Other applicable items like prescription medication, infant formula, items and equipment for people with special needs.
  • Charged battery pack for your phone.
  • This list should be personalized according to your and your family’s needs.

Keep Campfires Safe and Contained.

Campfires are the best. We love them! But they can be a safety risk if we’re not careful. Humans cause more than half of all wildfires in Canada. We can prevent this by exercising caution, using common sense and following rules.

  • Follow local wood-burning regulations and obey fire bans.
  • Don’t have a campfire when it’s windy.
  • Ensure that your fire is away from overhanging branches and at least 10 feet away from anything that could catch fire, including extra wood.
  • Throw all matches into the fire. Even one match or a spark on a dry patch can set things aflame!
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Keep a bucket of water and shovel close by.
  • Put your fire out when you’re done. Don’t leave it to burn itself out. Make sure the fire is cold before you leave.

Get Cottage Insurance.

We hope that nothing goes wrong during your time at the cottage, but it’s always good to be insured in case of unforeseen circumstances. If something goes wrong, you want to be covered.

Protect your family and your investment with a cottage insurance policy. Give us a call at: 1-877-222-1717 to find out more.