It's the time of year we've all been waiting for – when those of us with cottages finally get to open their doors for the season, and those of us without wait eagerly for our invites. Before you head up to those home-away-from-homes, however, be sure to follow these safety and prevention tips to ensure your summer is free of injury and incident.

  1. Test those smoke alarms. First, make sure you have smoke alarms installed on every floor and outside all sleeping areas. This is the law for all homes, cottages and cabins in Ontario, after all. Second, remember to test the alarms at least once a month, or at least every time you return to the cottage. To be safe, it is best to bring a few extra smoke alarm batteries in case they need to be replaced.
  2. Install carbon monoxide alarms. While people make this a priority at their regular homes, they sometimes forget their importance in the cottage. Especially if your cottage has a fuel-burning appliance, installing and testing carbon monoxide alarms are important.
  3. Be safe in the water. If your cottage has a pool, ensure it is enclosed by a fence. If your cottage is on a body of water, warn guests of any hazards including sudden drop-offs or powerboat regulations in your area. If you own a boat, make sure everyone riding in it wears a life jacket. Take a good look at your insurance policy to ensure you know who is covered – and who is not. For example, if a friend drives your boat and there's an accident, your insurance may not cover any damages.
  4. Grilling tip: if you haven't used your barbeque in a while, clean it well before you make that first dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs to avoid a risk of fire. If a barbecue is in use, keep an eye on it. Make sure all combustibles, young children and pets are kept at a safe distance. Clean it after use to keep any unwanted animals at bay!
  5. Be seen. Make sure your lightbulbs are in good working order. Remember to bring a flashlight or two with extra batteries. Ensure that your property is well lit – especially in high pedestrian areas to avoid tripping over unseen objects at night!
  6. Who you gonna call? Jot down or note the telephone number for the local fire department and local hospitals in case of emergency.
  7. Who's gonna call you? It is a good idea to ask someone to keep an eye on your property while you are away – to check in and ensure that your cottage is secure and that everything is in order. This may be required by your Insurer – check your policy!
  8. Keep a first aid kit on hand. Minor scrapes and bruises can be easily cleaned up with the right bandages and ointments.
  9. Drink responsibly. Cottage season is the time to sit back, relax and, yes, have a cold one or two. But it is important to be mindful of your responsibilities and to ensure that you are able to take control of a situation should danger arise.

Hopefully, following these tips will guarantee a safe summer at the cottage. Should you, your family members or friends be involved in an accident and get hurt, our team at HSH is ready to help. We have over 30 years of experience with personal injury matters and will address your concerns quickly and professionally.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.