Have you filled your weekend calendar for the summer yet? We have!
After two years of relatively low-key summers due to COVID restrictions, the summer of 2022 is poised to be one of the biggest cottage seasons we have ever seen. So, grab your bug spray and get ready for gridlocked highways out of the city.
Whether you’re returning to your family’s traditional getaway, or you’re renting a cottage/ Airbnb, it’s important that we never lose sight of fire safety, no matter how excited we are to be there.
With that in mind, here are some simple things to remember.
1. Read the Listings Carefully: When renting an Airbnb, you can click on Amenities to ensure that your would-be rental property has both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. You may notice that some of the more rustic and out-of-the-way options do not have them.
If you’re using a site other than Airbnb, you may not see these items in the listing. Don’t be afraid to send an email/message to the host to confirm.
2. Know Where You’re Going: Whether or not your host is legally obligated to provide you with a functional fire extinguisher can vary from area to area. But, beware of anyone that doesn’t. A lack of a fire extinguisher can be a red flag about the overall state of the cottage and how they run their business. It’s always best to ask ahead of time.
Also, be sure to check the local municipality’s laws on fireworks and open fire, as well as their fire ban status. These can typically be found on their website or Facebook page. Most areas post regular updates on Facebook during cottage season.
3. Learn the Lay of the Land: Get to know the geography of where you’re staying. It’s helpful to know where the good and bad coverage areas are on the property if you need to make an emergency phone call.
4. Test Your Alarms: Ontario’s Fire Code requires functional fire alarms on every storey of your cottage and outside all of your sleeping areas.
Check them and replace the batteries regularly. At the same time, you should also install a carbon monoxide detector if your cottage has an appliance that burns wood or fossil fuels, or if your cottage has an attached garage.
5. Keep Your Distance: Remember to store your fuel, firewood, and other combustible materials at a safe distance of at least 10 metres from your cottage.
6. Grill Responsibly: Always ensure that your BBQ is clean and grease-free, while also doing a yearly check for holes in the hose.
7. Look Up. Way Up: Make it a point to keep your roof, rain gutters, and eavesdrops free of dried leaves and pine needles. You may need to clean them more than once a year, depending on how many trees you have and how much wind you get.
Also, install a screened cap on your chimney.
8. Know the Local Laws: Always stay up-to-date on the local fire ban status. This can change from day to day, so plan accordingly.
9. Keep Your Fire Pit Well Stocked: Ensure you can quickly put out any campfire with a long garden hose, a bucket, or easy lake access.
10. Be Easy to Find: Keep your signage clear! If an emergency response team needs to find your cottage in a hurry, ensure that your sign and lot number aren’t too faded to read from the road, or covered by overgrowth.
There you have it! As you can see, being a little bit more careful and conscientious can make a big difference. Following these tips will make sure that your favourite place in the world is always there for you, year after year.