HGTV host says safety is as essential in cottage country as in city

NewsCanada – Spring, 2016 – There’s nothing like the first joyous arrival at the family cottage or rental cabin after another long Canadian winter. But before you settle into that hammock or deck chair, one of HGTV’s top renovation experts has some sound advice: Don’t forget to put safety first.

“With all the excitement of another summer, it is easy to forget about things like smoke and carbon monoxide alarms,” says Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV’s hit show Income Property. “And yet these are the safety devices that can help prevent a vacation from becoming a tragedy. Fire and CO protection is just as essential in cottage country as it is in the city.”

McGillivray suggests families split the chores when first loading in the cottage. For example, one team brings in the groceries, beach toys and refreshments while the other inspects every smoke and carbon monoxide alarm and fire extinguisher.
Here’s McGillivray’s cottage safety checklist for property owners:

  1. Is there a smoke alarm installed on each level and outside all sleeping areas? If not, new alarms must be installed where they are missing.
  2. What is the age of all alarms? Smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years, and, CO alarms replaced if they were made prior to 2009. This applies to hardwired alarms, too.
  3. Install fresh batteries in all alarms that are not being replaced. Then give each alarm a light dusting or vacuuming, to remove cobwebs and dust.
  4. Make sure the indicator arrow on fire extinguishers is still in the green area.
  5. Consider when you last had the fireplace, furnace or other heating source, and any other fuel-burning appliances and ductwork checked? This should be done annually for optimal safety.

McGillivray is quick to mention that renters, too, should complete a similar safety check. While it is a landlord’s responsibility to provide smoke and CO alarms, it might not be feasible to expect alarm replacements or new batteries to be provided quickly. McGillivray believes it is always smart to take along your own portable, battery-powered smoke alarm as well as a digital CO alarm so you know you are protected from the first night.

McGillivray’s last tip is to always invest in models with the latest technology, when adding or replacing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. He mentions Kidde, this country’s leading manufacturer of smoke and CO alarms, as recently introducing an entire line of “Worry-Free” alarms with advanced sensors and 10-year sealed lithium batteries – meaning there are no batteries to replace for the alarm’s entire lifespan. The company has also launched an integrated 10-year smoke alarm and LED strobe light which adds additional peace of mind for families with members who are hard-of-hearing.