Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bison's Tips for Closing the Cottage

Fall is officially here, and many of us are going through the rituals involved with this time of year: carving pumpkins, hosting Thanksgiving, digging up the garden, and closing up the cottage.

For many people throughout Manitoba and Ontario, especially, cottage season runs from mid-April until mid-October (of the end of the month if we’re lucky) and around this time of year families are making the final trek to “close up” their cottage for the winter season.

If a weekend trip out to cottage country is in your near future, take a look at this list of tips to keep your cottage safe and protected against fires during your absence:

Turn Off Your Electrical System

Some cottage owners choose to turn off their electricity entirely by throwing the main switch located in their fuse box. If this is your choice this season, make sure to turn off all major appliances, gas fireplaces, your water heater, and any electrical space heaters or ductless mini split AC systems in any of your rooms.

Ensuring that these items are turned off will help ensure a smooth and error-free startup next season, and reduced the likelihood that an issue with your electrical system will cause a fire over the winter months. This is especially true with space heaters, which may turn on during cold weather and start fires.

Additionally, make sure to check your power lines and any exterior power lines or cables for damage. Put away any wires which will be unused during the winter, and inspect any visible wiring connected to outdoor lights and the like. Make sure to call an electrician if you notice any issues such as damage or fraying.

Clear Away Underbrush & Mow Your Grass

If you have lots of leaves, tree branches, and shrubs surrounding your cabin we advise cleaning them up and trimming them to the best of your ability before leaving the area unattended for the next few months.

While it’s less likely that a fire will ignite during the cold, damp winter months, it’s important to remember that leaves and tree branches are still flammable, and can ignite easily as a result of a spark from a frayed wire. It’s also important to give your lawn (if you have one) a last mow before departing for the season, as longer grass can help fires travel faster.

Take Photos of Everything

In the unfortunate event of a fire it’s important to take photos of everything that was in your cottage when you closed it up for the season.

Most cottage owners have insurance on their cottage and property which will cover the cost of any items lost in a fire, but one of the easiest ways to make sure you can claim everything is to take photos of the layout of your cottage and take notes about which pieces of furniture were in which room when you left.

For help staying fire-safe at home and at work, contact Bison Fire Protection at (204) 237-3473.

Posted by Rob Read at 9:08 AM

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