Summer Season

Preparation ahead of severe weather and risks associated with warmer temperatures should start as soon as possible.

We've put together a few helpful tips to help you safely navigate the summer months. Whether at home, at work, or at play, follow these tips to help stay safe this summer.

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Water damage and flash floods

From ensuring that important documents are not stored in your basement to installing a sump pump, there are many ways to be proactive such as:

  1. Keep a current and detailed home inventory
  2. If your neighbourhood is prone to flooding, take precautions throughout your house and property.
  3. Assemble a disaster safety kit. 
  4. Create a 72-hour emergency preparedness plan for your family. 

   Reducing Risk of Water Damage

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Fire prevention

Fire prevention is not something that requires deep pockets or a lot of time.  Consider the common-sense precautions listed below:

  1. Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues, particularly when burning oil, coal or wood.
  2. Use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from hitting the floor and rugs.
  3. Do not install a bulb with a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture.
  4. Install ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  5. Keep your attic tidy. Clutter such as clothing, boxes, books, magazines and newspapers not only fuels a fire but prevents firefighters from gaining access to extinguish the flames.
  6. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors outside bedrooms and on each floor of your home. Check batteries every spring and fall.
  7. Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
  8. Consider investing in a lightning rod if your home is built on an elevated or exposed site.
  9. Ensure your garage is separated from the living quarters by a fire-resistant, self-closing door.
  10. Ensure your garage has properly wired light fixtures that are controlled by a switch rather than makeshift installations that use an extension cord.
  11. Do not store gasoline, solvents, waste or other flammable materials near your furnace or in your garage. Store them in an outbuilding away from your home.
  12. Ensure your fuses and circuit breakers work properly. Inspect aluminum wiring periodically. Consider hiring an electrician to review your wiring.
  13. If your home has a heating boiler, have it inspected and cleaned frequently. Do not block the air vent or damper. If your home has an oil tank, have it periodically inspected to ensure it is airtight so fuel oil does not overflow or leak.
  14. Remove excess lint from the lint trap of your clothes dryer and keep the exhaust vent clean.
  15. Don't let dry leaves and debris collect near the outside walls of your home, particularly if you have wood or vinyl siding.
  16. Have enough electrical outlets to avoid the excessive use of extension cords. If an extension cord is needed, don't run it under a rug.
  17. When cooking: Keep pot handles turned inward over the stove. Remove greasy build-up from the range hood and the filters. Keep curtains pulled away from any heating elements on the stove.
  18. Do not leave lighted candles unattended or burning overnight.
  19. Do not leave a clothing iron or hair straightening iron unattended.
  20. Never smoke in bed. Better yet, always smoke outside and away from the home. Be sure to securely store matches and lighters away from children.



Fire Prevention

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Vacation Ready

A few simple rules to help prevent theft:

  • Ask a trusted neighbour or friend to collect your mail and newspapers, keep your sidewalk and driveway clear, and park his or her car in your driveway. You can also request that mail deliveries be stopped or re-routed to a different address until you return.
  • Consider light switch timers, especially multiple timers on a random setting. They are inexpensive and make your home appear lived in.
  • Installing a home security system and outdoor motion detectors may deter burglars from targeting your home.
  • Inspect your home before you leave. Put away bicycles and gardening or snow removal equipment, and be sure to lock your shed. Closely trim trees and shrubs to keep your house in plain view.
  • If loading luggage into your car, do so in your garage if possible, so you don't alert potential thieves you are leaving.
  • Leave curtains and/or blinds as you would normally keep them while at home but be sure to store any jewellery, valuables and important paperwork out of sight or in a home safe or bank safety deposit box. Noticeable changes in your home's typical appearance may hint that you are away.
  • Don't announce your vacation plans in casual conversations, in emails or on social networking sites

Vacay Prep

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Social Host (Liquor Liability)

If you host a party at your home and serve liquor to a guest who causes an auto collision, you could be sued. If a courier slips, trips and falls while on your property, you could be liable. Risk management tips can help you prevent worst-case scenarios.

Hosting a Party and Serving Alcohol?

You may be responsible for your guests' actions if you serve people past the point of intoxication on your property. Hosting a backyard wedding with several dozen or more guests increases the possibility of you not being able to monitor all alcohol consumption.

Tips for Limiting Alcohol Consumption

Today, the legal threshold for intoxication is lower and courts now hold people who serve alcohol to their friends and guests on their property more accountable. Whether you are a homeowner or tenant, you may be held responsible for your guests' behaviour – even after they leave your property – if you serve them alcohol. Consider the following before you serve alcohol to guests:

  1. Ask people when they arrive if they are a designated driver
  2. Ensure many non-alcoholic beverages and food options are available
  3. One hour before you anticipate guests will leave, stop serving alcohol and start serving coffee, tea or water
  4. Have cash on hand for cabs and/or an extra bedroom made up for last-minute overnight guests
  5. Keep watch and don't hesitate to ask for someone's keys if you have concerns about their ability to drive

Tips for Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

Before a courier, babysitter, delivery person or repair technician visits or you host an event at your home, address common hazards by:

  1. Using salt, shovel and/or sand to keep walking surfaces clear of ice and snow within bylaw timeframes or best practices that dictate when snow clearing should be completed
  2. Fixing unexpected elevation changes, surface cracks or gaps within your property line and/or report issues on municipally-owned property such as uneven sidewalks
  3. Putting a non-slip covering over slippery surfaces such as wet floors or tile flooring
  4. Repairing loose handrails on stairs or installing missing handrails
  5. Removing any debris – such as slippery and wet fall leaves – on walking paths
  6. Ensuring all areas are adequately lit

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