Time at the cottage is meant to be relaxing and fun, but a serious accident can quickly turn a nice vacation into a stressful ordeal – especially in remote locations. Cottage owners and their guests have the duty to act responsibly in order to prevent injuries at the cottage.
When you arrive in cottage country this spring, it will be worth it to check common problem areas of your property to assess for any substantial damages left by winter weather.
Checking the following list of areas will save you some grief later in the summer and any potential damages will not have the chance to worsen.
When you Arrive
Take a thorough walk around of your cottage interior and exterior to see if any damage has occurred over the winter – check the windows, screens, chimney, power lines, dock and the underside of your cottage if it’s multi-level and has decks or support beams. Also check for any signs of damage or vandalism from other people trespassing on your property.
Be careful with the terrain, especially around the deck and docks that might be slippery from the winter that could easily cause a slip and fall accident. Also watch out for loose branches or anything that might be hazardous.
Inside the cottage, check your heating system (and cooling, if you have it), plumbing and electrical.
Turn on the power by flipping the main and then go room by room to make sure everything is working. Look for chewed-up electrical cords, lights that flicker, fixtures that spark, or a burning smell. Make sure to inspect your hydrometer and any power lines for damage including wiring to outdoor fixtures and other equipment. Turn on the water and check your water tank and pumps for any leaks or mouldy areas.
Foundation and fire fundamentals
Look for cracks in the foundation and any water penetration. A professional, such as a foundation specialist or structural engineer should check any cracks that can fit a dime.
And don’t forget the basics, such as replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, and making sure fire extinguishers are fully charged.
Look for signs of critters, such as torn window screens and holes in the soffits, roof and siding. They can enter through the chimney, small openings around windows and doors, rip through roof venting, or chew through siding.
Carefully check if there are any animals inside before anyone goes charging through the cottage — it could be dangerous. Even if just mice got in, there could be mouse droppings, which is dangerous to your health.
If it seems all clear, proceed with caution. There’s still a chance there could be some unwanted guests inside. Check the kitchen — including cupboards and drawers.
However, if there are definite signs of critter intrusion, it’s best to call a professional pest control company.
Last but not least – check your septic tank. Get it emptied every five to seven years, depending on usage. Not sure it needs to be emptied? Call a professional company to inspect it and get on their regular service schedule.
Cottage-related accidents are caused by many factors, from product defects to simple carelessness or reckless behaviour. We are committed to helping accident injury victims get the support they need. Contact us to find out how we can help you.