Fire safety tips for your Muskoka cottage from Gravenhurst fire chief Larry Brassard

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GRAVENHURST — Here are some safety tips from Gravenhurst Fire Chief Larry Brassard to help protect your cottage from fire:

• Test smoke alarms at least monthly or each time you return to the cottage. Pack a new smoke alarm and extra smoke alarm batteries in case they need replacement.

• Install and ensure carbon monoxide alarms in your cottage if it has a fuel-burning appliance.

• Develop and practise a home fire escape plan to ensure everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds.

• Know your cottage’s emergency sign number, in case of emergency.

• Clean barbecues before using them. Keep an eye on lit barbecues and ensure all combustibles, as well as children and pets, are kept well away from them. Fires can happen when barbecues are left unattended.

• Keep barbecue lighters and matches out of sight and reach of children.

• Check heating appliances and chimneys before using them.

• Open air burning is prohibited during daylight hours. If burning during the evening, fires should be built on bare soil or on exposed rock. Remove leaves and twigs from around the fire to keep it from spreading.

• Always keep a bucket of water, sand, or even a shovel close by and supervise the fire at all times.

• If you must smoke, do so outside. Keep a large can with water nearby so cigarette butts can be safely discarded. If you drink, do so responsibly. Tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are contributing factors in many fires and can lead to serious injuries.

• Burn candles in sturdy candle holders that will not tip and are covered with a glass shade. When you go out, blow out!