Wednesday, June 01, 2016

How To Prevent Fires At The Cottage

The season is coming when many of us perform one of our favourite annual rituals: opening up the cottage.

While it’s great to be able to get away for a few days (or weeks, if you’re lucky) it’s important to stay safe and establish safety guidelines for yourself, your family, and your guests. Here are a few tips to stay safe:

Test All Your Alarms

After a season away, check the batteries in each of your smoke alarms and ensure that they are all working properly. Replace the batteries if not fully charged.

If your cottage has a wood-burning appliance, such as a wood-burning stove, carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed according to manufacturer’s instructions. The best place to install them is outside any sleeping areas or bedrooms, and near the fuel-burning appliance indoors.

Inspect Your Hydro Lines & Wiring

Check to make sure that storm or tree damage hasn’t compromised any of your hydro lines, and report any damage for repair if you spot any.

Additionally, inspect your indoor and outdoor wiring for damage caused by rodents and small animals, and call to have an electrician repair any damage you find.

Install a Fire Extinguisher

Having a fully charged, multi-purpose ABC fire extinguisher in case of emergencies doesn’t just give you and your guests peace of mind, it can also be critical in emergency situations.

Make sure that the fire extinguisher is clearly visible, is easily accessible, and is located near an exit that can also be used to escape the cottage in the event of an emergency. Train family members and guests on how to use it, and make sure that it is fully charged (the needle should be in the green area). Remember: a partially-charged fire extinguisher is considered an empty one, so always make sure it’s fully charged.

Clean Up

Clean up any fallen leaves, branches, dried brush, and other rubbish surrounding your cottage, and make sure that pathways are clean and clear in case you need to use them during an emergency.

Check exhaust vents and flues, and if your cottage has a chimney, schedule an annual inspection to check for creosote buildup, cracks, crumbling bricks and obstructions.

Be Fire Smart

Burn dry, well-seasoned wood to minimize creosote buildup inside your chimney, and dispose of the ashes in a covered container at least 3 feet (one meter) from anything flammable, and use a fireplace screen to keep sparks from escaping as the wood is burning.

Stack firewood away from the cottage, and keep flammable items like fiberglass boats, canoes, and flammable liquids such as gasoline and propane in approved containers a safe distance away from the building.

Know Your Emergency Numbers

Every second counts during an emergency, so make sure you and your guests all know the exact location of your cottage, how to get to it from the closest major highway, and that emergency numbers are posted in an easy-to-find place away from any potential fire sources.

Summertime at the cottage is a time to relax and rest, and by following these safety tips, you can make sure that your summer is both relaxing, enjoyable, and safe.

If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Posted by Rob Read at 8:36 AM


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