Summer is around the corner, which means cottage season is about to kick off. Between hiking, tubing around crystal lakes and sharing stories in front of campfires, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Get outside and have fun, but don’t spoil your much-deserved getaway with preventable accidents.
Here are some easy tips on how to stay safe at the cottage all season long.
1. Keep your first-aid kit stocked
Even if you spent time at your home-away-from-home over the winter, it’s a good idea to make sure your first-aid kit is ready for a new season. Warmer weather means more time outdoors, which can lead to more accidents. Bandages, sterile gauze pads, antiseptic wipes and tweezers are all key things to have on hand.
2. Get to know your community
Tap into your cottage community and stay up-to-date with local news. Is there a regional fire ban? Have there been any problems with bears? Subscribing to a county newsletter and learning about what’s happening in your neighbourhood keeps you in the loop.
3. Be prepared in case of a fire
Having smoke alarms installed in your cottage is one thing, but making sure they work is critical. Smoke alarms need to be replaced at least every 10 years, and batteries should be tested monthly. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in recreational spaces, and need to be replaced every seven years. Another tip? Never go to sleep without making sure campfires are completely out and keep extinguishers nearby.
4. Find out where the nearest emergency spots are
It’s vital to know where the closest doctor or hospital is, and have their numbers on hand. Get familiar with the quickest routes so you know where you’re going —and how long it takes to get there — in case of an emergency.
5. Be boat smart
There’s nothing better than being on the water, but it’s important to take boating safety seriously. Make sure there are always life jackets and flotation devices on board, and keep glass and open alcohol on land. Also, it’s the law to have a valid boating license in Ontario, so make sure you’re permitted to operate a watercraft.