Safety in summer homes away from home

Posted on May 30, 2018 by kerri

Many families have summer homes, cabins, RVs or campsites we spend significant time at in the spring and summer months, stretching into early fall. Having such a retreat allows a place to relax and step back to the hustle of urban or suburban life. 

However, it’s possible that, while these cottages, summer homes, or trailers are our “homes away from home”, we may not keep as watchful of an eye on certain safety precautions we do in our regular homes.

As you prepare for summer home or camping season, here are some things to consider when socking or restocking your secondary abode!

  • First aid kits. Do you have a first-aid kit? Is it well stocked with items needed? While minor, we discovered last summer our cabin first aid kit does not have tweezers in it, when my dad needed to remove a splinter! We got tweezers out there the next weekend, but taking an inventory to see what may have wandered off is important.
  • Smoke detectors and batteries: When did you last test the smoke detector in your summer home? Especially after a winter in potentially frigid temperatures, give that smoke detector a test and/or some fresh batteries.
  • Fire extinguisher: Whether you’re cooking on an open fire or a range, having an in-service fire extinguisher can be life-saving—and prevent property damage.
  • Emergency numbers and route numbers. Some rural areas may not be served by a “typical” 911 service like many of us have become accustomed to; or the non-emergency numbers may not be what you use at home.
    As well, rural areas may have emergency route/road or “ER” numbers on winding roads to help paramedics, police and fire crews find your home as quickly as possible. Note these numbers if available and keep them near your telephone. 
    Of course, medical ID jewelry is important whether you’re in the city or country if you have allergies or medical conditions!
  • Nearest hospital or clinic. If you  need to drive to a hospital or clinic, have directions to the nearest emergency room, walk-in clinic, or similar available. 
  • Nearest pharmacy. Identify the nearest pharmacy to your home away from home in the event you need it—depending how far your retreat is from your home, it may be easier to transfer and refill medicines than to go back home for ones forgotten.
  • Check fire hazards like wires and heaters. Some seasonal homes may have “guests” in the off season, like mice or other small rodents. Do a fire-safety check when opening up for the season, including wires that may have been chewed, or heaters or wood stoves that have been unused over winter that could pose a fire risk.
  • Check doors and locks. My family cabin is notorious for shifting over winter—some years, we literally cannot open a main door until the melt happens! Checking your doors and locks regularly to make sure they work well can prevent intruders from entering when you’re not there. In the case of my cabin, sometimes a door will not “latch” properly if unlocked, enabling it to be opened with a simple push—certainly wouldn’t want a curious bear wandering in that easily! 

Enjoying your summer season can start smoothly if you do a few pre-season checks. What other things do you check when re-opening your summer abode?

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