Fire safety tips so you don't get burned.

The dog days of summer are here, and many of us are trying to beat the heat with a trip to the cottage. While cottages help us keep our summer cool, they do present some unique fire hazards which you might not normally consider.

Ensure the safety of your family, cottage and belongings by considering a few fire safety tips.

Around the cottage:

  • Choose fire-resistant material when roofing or re-siding the cottage. If you choose to use wood, treat it with a fire-retardant every few years.
  • If you burn wood in a stove or fireplace, keep your chimney clean and use a screened chimney cap to catch sparks and embers.
  • Stack any firewood or lumber well away from the building.
  • Maintain an open area around the cottage to create a firebreak. Remove any overhanging trees, shrubs and dry grasses from around the cottage. Gravel, stone or brick pathways make a good firebreak. Green, actively growing grasses and ground covers and flowers are more fire-resistant.
  • Remove dry grass and debris from under open porches and decks and close them up.
  • Consider thinning trees so they do not touch or overlap.
  • Maintain the fuse boxes, heaters, wiring, stoves, and other possible heat sources.
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors.
  • Store any cleaning fluids and other flammable materials in approved containers.
  • Keep highly flammable fibreglass boats and canoes away from the building.

Barbeques and bonfires:

  • Follow local burning regulations and keep up-to-date on fire bans in the area by calling your provincial government office or your local municipality.
  • Keep the fire small and away from other flammable materials.
  • Attend the fire at all times.
  • Have water and firefighting tools handy.
  • Burn in the evening and after dark and make sure fire is completely extinguished before sunrise.

Finally, make sure your cottage is properly insured

Cottages or vacation properties are generally listed on your primary home insurance policy as a "Secondary" or "Seasonal" property. The benefits of this are that you pay less of a liability premium on each property and are often eligible for a multi-policy discount.

Compare online property insurance quotes at Kanetix and save time and money. First, complete a quote for your primary residence and indicate that you also wish to insure a secondary residence. Once you've received your quotes and decide to proceed, a representative from your chosen insurer will be able to provide you a quote that also includes your cottage or seasonal home.

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