The May long weekend is when most Ontarians open their cottages and other seasonal homes. The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are urging Ontarians to add safety and prevention to their weekend plans.
Cottages and other seasonal homes are vulnerable to unsafe conditions that can arise over the winter such as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that no longer work, and chimneys that have become blocked. Cottages can also become targets for break-ins, not just in the winter, but also when unoccupied during the summer months.
The OFM and OPP are advising Ontarians to create a checklist to ensure that their cottages and other seasonal homes, such as cabins and trailers are safe and secure.
When opening the cottage, always ensure that:
- You bring smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are in working condition Chimneys and vents are not blocked by bird nests or other debris
- All door and window locks are secure and homes are properly locked at all times
- Always be on the look out for strangers in the neighbourhood, people taking “shortcuts” through your property and unfamiliar vehicles making repeat visits through the neighbourhood. Record licence plate numbers and descriptions of any suspicious vehicles.
- Know the telephone number for the local fire, police and emergency services, and your cottage’s emergency sign number.
- Click this link for more rural crime prevention tips from police
“Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are essential to keeping you and your family safe. This weekend, Ontarians should purchase new alarms and batteries as they will likely need replacing after the long winter,” said Ted Wieclawek, Ontario Fire Marshal
OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis said: “The OPP encourages all owners of vacation homes to take the necessary precautions to protect your property and prevent break-ins. Owners should report any and all suspicious activity to police immediately upon arrival, and before entering if possible.”
- Installing smoke alarms is the law in Ontario. At a minimum, every cottage or seasonal home must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.
- Cottages and other seasonal homes should be equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm.
- Electronics and alcohol are often targeted by thieves. Ensure that all valuable items and alcohol are secured or removed from the premises when not in use.
- The OPP helps maintain the Cottage Watch Program through the Federation of Ontario Cottager’s Associations.