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How to stay fire safe at the cottage this summer

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With the weather getting warmer across the country, thousands of Canadians are returning to their cottages to spend some quality time with their families.

With fire season underway and the risk of wildfires being higher than ever, having a conversation with your family about fire safety is crucial to reduce the risk of damage to your home.

Kidde fire safety educator Stephanie Berzinski provided CTV Morning Live viewers with some tips on how to stay safe this summer.

A survey by Kidde found that 84 per cent of Canadian parents think their children would know what to do in the event of a fire. However, the majority of fire deaths take place at home, she said.

Berzinski made a number of recommendations, which includes checking alarms, inspecting fuel appliances, clearing debris and educating your family.

 

Check and inspect carbon monoxide alarms

Upon arriving at your cottage, it's important to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working, Berzinski said. This can be done by simply pressing the test button under the alarm.

If it doesn't make a sound, the battery likely needs to be replaced.

"Most people don’t know [alarms] need to be replaced every seven to 10 years," Berzinski said.

 

Inspect fuel burning appliances, including barbecues

Before getting ready for the season, Berzinski recommends checking appliances such as barbecues and chimneys to make sure they are safely burning.

"Before firing up that first steak, make sure the propane tank and the hose don't have any leaks," she said.

She also recommends checking your chimneys and to even hire a professional to come check it. The barbecue and generators pose the highest fire risk, she said.

Barbecues should be at least 10 metres away from your home in a well-ventilated space.

"Never use a generator indoors, not even if you have a garage and the door is open," she said.

 

Clear debris surrounding the property

It's important to inspect the outside areas of your property to make sure there are no debris that could be fuel for brush fires

"Make sure any debris pilled up during the winter months is moved away from your home," she said.

"This includes twigs, branches, anything that could be potential fuel for a brush fire."

 

Always have a fire extinguisher and water bucket on hand

Berzinski says that anyone planning to have a campfire this season should have a bucket on hand in case of an emergency.

You should also have fire extinguishers on every level of your cottage, near the barbecue or near the fire pit.

"You want to make sure everyone in your family knows how to use the fire extinguisher," she said.

 

Speak and educate your family on the danger of fires

Berezniki says it's crucial that families understand crucial information about fires, including where fire extinguishers are located and where to escape in case of an emergency in the home.

"We want to make sure families are having this critical conversation about fire safety at home," she said.

"Children get fire drills at school, but they're not practicing fire drills at home.

For more information on fire safety tips and on a safety course for your family, check out: causeforalarm.org/Canada. There are free resources for children and families available.

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