Off-Road Vehicle Accident Prevention

QuadRiding an ATV, snowmobile or other off‐road vehicle (ORV) can be an amazing outdoor experience, but before you hit the trails, make sure safety is part of the plan. Off‐road vehicles should be operated using proper techniques and procedures to prevent serious injury or death. For fun and safe recreation on an ORV, be sure to follow these safety tips:

Only drivers over the age of 16 should operate an ORV. It is strongly recommended that children under the age of 16 should not operate an ORV. This is especially important, since younger children are usually injured on ORVs due to their size or inexperience with operating vehicles. Even once a child is 16 and able to operate an ORV, adult supervision should be present at all times.

Take a driver’s safety course. Before you drive a car, you take a safety course, so why should driving an ORV be any different? Safety courses educate riders of the correct way to operate and ride an ORV to ensure he or she knows how to handle the vehicle. Also, safety courses will teach riders of all ages the appropriate behavior when riding an ORV, making it critical for teens and young adults to attend.

Always wear protective gear. Just like operating a motorcycle or bicycle, riding an ORV requires you use proper protective gear. ALW AYS wear a helmet. Most serious or fatal accidents occur when the rider is not wearing a helmet and falls on their head. Helmets may not be the most stylish accessory, but they can literally save your life. Also, since most riders operate ORVs in wooded environments, be sure to wear proper eye protection, as a rock, branch, or even a bug can fly into your eye and cause damage or distraction. Furthermore, be sure to wear boots and gloves to protect your hands and feet while operating the ORV.

Pre‐ride inspection. Do a pre‐ride inspection every time. Check the tires or tracks for wear and rims and skis for damage. Look over your controls and make sure connections and cables are intact. Check the chain or for worn links and sprockets for broken teeth and ensure there's enough lubrication.

Only one rider per vehicle. Unless you're riding an ORV equipped for two people, only one person should ride at any time. No piggy‐backing or side riding on ATVs, as they are designed for only one rider at a time. Also, the ATV may be unable to successfully hold the combined weight of two riders, making it less stable and more prone to roll over. Finally, having an additional rider can distract the driver from the task of properly operating the vehicle.

Don't ride alone. Participating in any sport or activity where accidents can and do happen, it's never a good idea to do it alone. Always have a riding buddy and better ‐ have two. Running out of fuel, getting lost or crashing is never any fun but it's worse and can be life threatening if you're alone. Besides, who wants to ride by themselves? Grab some friends and make a day of it. Carry a communication device with you at all times. ORV riders should be sure to carry a cell phone or walkie talkie with them at all times so that they can call for help in the event of an emergency. This is especially true if you are riding alone, which is not encouraged, so that someone will be able to find you if you become injured. Whenever you plan to ride your ORV, you should either have another individual with you or notify someone of where you are going and when you plan to return.

Ride ORVs in appropriate settings. When it comes to where to ride your ORV, ensure you choose a proper setting. Avoid roads and streets, since ORVs are not designed nor intended to be driven on concrete or asphalt with larger cars and trucks. Also, avoid improper terrain that may encourage the ORV to roll over due to instability in the ground.Tour on snowmobile

Do not speed. ORVs are designed to go a certain speed safely. Increasing the speed ‐ especially through certain terrains ‐ decreases your control and the vehicle’s stability, making you more prone to have an accident.

Do not attempt tricks or stunts while riding an ORV. The most injuries on ORVs occur when the vehicles are operated improperly. Take great care in riding your ORV and be sure to avoid any tricks or stunts that will encourage an accident. Furthermore, avoid improper interaction with other individuals, whether they are on an ORV or not.

Do not operate an ORV impaired. Many adults find themselves tempted to operate an ORV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even over the counter or prescription medications can impair your reaction time, thinking process and judgment, so be sure to avoid operating an ORV during this time. Just like drinking and driving, alcohol and ORV driving does not mix.

Tired? Stop Riding. ORV riding is actually a great way to exercise. It demands strength and mental acuity. Overtime however, those bumps, jumps and tight corners wear down even the strongest rider. If you can feel fatigue setting in, stop and take a break. Even if you don't feel tired, if you've been riding all day, take a break, rehydrate and fuel up with a snack or meal.

Use common sense. This final safety tip is by far the best. Your common sense can carry you a long way, especially involving your safety.

Click Here to download - Off-Road Vehicle Accident Prevention PDF
Fire Extinguisher prevention main

When used properly, a fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until firefighters arrive.

- Fire extinguishers do not replace the need to call your local fire department - always call 9-1-1 when a fire occurs, no matter how small.

- Keep a class ABC fire extinguisher in plain view in the kitchen, basement and garage, located away from heat sources.

- Remember the acronym P.A.S.S. to effectively put out a fire: PULL the pin, AIM the nozzle at base of fire, SQUEEZE the handle and SWEEP the nozzle side to side.

- A typical fire extinguisher contains 10 seconds of extinguishing power.  If you cannot extinguish the fire, leave the area immediately and close the door.  Call 9-1-1 and wait outside for the firefighters to arrive.

- Fire extinguishers should be inspected annually and recharged every 6 years by a certified service company. A hydrostatic test is required every 12 years to ensure that the cylinder is safe to use.

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Sink, Dishwasher & Fridge prevention main Short of fire, nothing causes more damage to the inside of a property than leaking water.  Water from failing pipes, hoses, plumbing fixtures and appliances cause over 50% of all property damage.

- Check hoses and connections on your dishwasher, sink and icemaker in your fridge at least once a year.

- Replace hoses immediately if cut, brittle, frayed, corroded or damaged in any way.

- Replace standard rubber hoses with braided stainless steel reinforced hoses, which will reduce the likelihood of leaks, and provide longer life.

- Install a drip pan under the dishwasher to alert you of a leak.  Consider installing water alarms underneath kitchen appliances for early water detection.
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Toaster prevention main

Unplug kitchen appliances with heating elements when not in use.

- Faulty kitchen appliances can remain energized after use, creating a fire hazard by overheating nearby combustible items.

- Be sure to unplug toasters, toaster ovens and coffee makers when not in use.

- Heating appliances should be moved out from under cabinets and away from curtains when used.  Clear the area of any hand towels, oven mitts, paper towels and other items that could catch fire.

- Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many kitchen appliances and ensure electrical cords are not frayed, cracked or damaged.

- If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker or has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced immediately.

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Stove prevention main

Kitchen fires are a leading cause of property damage and personal injury.

- Never leave the kitchen unattended when frying, grilling or broiling food.

- Use a timer when simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food and check the kitchen regularly.

- Stay alert and avoid cooking when under the influence of medications or alcohol.

- Keep all combustibles including oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, pot holders and curtains away from hot surfaces.

- Keep a class ABC general purpose fire extinguisher in the kitchen or pantry for emergency use, and inspect it monthly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Fireplace prevention main

Have a certified professional inspect and clean your chimney and fire box every year. They will clean out any creosote build-up which could start a fire and fix any cracks, blockages and leaks.

- Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes for proper installation, use and maintenance of your wood stove or fireplace.

- Burn only well seasoned fire wood. Green wood burns cooler than well seasoned wood and can cause dangerous creosote to build up at a much faster rate.

- Clean out the ashes on a regular basis and store them in a covered metal container. Hot coals can easily ignite nearby combustibles if not removed and left a safe distance away.

- Keep children away from the glass barrier on gas fireplaces which can heat up to 200°C (400°F) in about six minutes during use! It takes an average of 45 minutes for the fireplace to cool to a safe temperature after the fire is switched off.

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Electrical Outlet prevention main

Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many appliances. If additional outlets are required, have them installed by a licensed electrician.

- Check for outlets that have loose fitting plugs which can overheat and lead to fire.

- Replace any missing or broken wall plates and install safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.

- Electrical cords must be free of cracks, splits, fraying and other damage as a result of general wear and tear.

- Exposed junction boxes containing energized wiring should be enclosed with a cover plate to prevent electric shock and fire.

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Light Fixture prevention main

Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.  Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended.

- Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely as loose bulbs may overheat and cause fire.

- Halogen bulbs operate at much higher temperatures than standard bulbs.  Never place a halogen floor lamp where it could come in contact with curtains, clothing or other combustible materials.

- When buying Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), check for the recommended light fixture and installation instructions on the box or base of the bulb.  Unless otherwise specified, CFLs should not be used in enclosed recessed fixtures, with dimmer switches, in touch lamps, with photocells, with electric timers or where exposed to weather.

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Extension Cord prevention main

Extension cords are not intended as permanent household wiring and should be used for temporary power only.

- Check to see that cords are not overloaded and haven’t been chained together or fed from another extension cord.

- Replace cords immediately if frayed, cracked or damaged.

- Do not run extension cords through doorways, windows or holes in the wall, floor or ceiling.

- Never cover a cord with carpet, furniture, clothing or any other items that could limit or prevent air circulation.

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Sump Pump prevention basement

Over 85% of all homes with basements will experience some form of water problem in their lifetime.  The chance of basement flooding is greatly reduced with the installation of a sump pit and pump.

- Choose a larger capacity sump pump than necessary - it will usually last longer as it does not have to work so hard.

- Purchase a pump with a reliable switch activated by high water.

- Install a battery backup power supply to operate the sump pump in the event of power failure, and an emergency pump system in case your primary pump fails.

- Ensure the water is pumped to the lot’s surface and flows away from the foundation of the house.

- Test your pump before it rains in Spring and again in Fall.  Use a garden hose or bucket of water to fill up the sump pit, then make sure the pump starts, runs properly to drain the water and switches off.

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Christmas Tree prevention main

A dry Christmas tree is a serious fire hazard as it can be ignited easily.  Keep the base reservoir full and add water daily.

- Consider using fire resistant artificial trees and decorations only.

- Do not use nails, tacks or staples to hang cords and lights as this can damage the insulation of the wire, causing a short circuit or fire.

- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how many sets of lights can be safely strung together.  Do not overload electrical outlets.

- Always use cords and lights approved for either indoor or outdoor use.

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Candles prevention main Candles are enjoyable, calming and fragrant, but don't ever forget that when you burn them you are dealing with fire!
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Position candles well away from flammable objects and materials like curtains, lampshades and plants, and keep away from possible contact by pets or children.
  • Place candles on a flat, uncluttered surface and use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily.
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.  Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep wicks trimmed so the candle burns cleanly and safely without smoking.
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Ice Dam prevention exterior The accumulated buildup of snow and ice at the edge of a roof can cause serious damage to your home.  Ice dams are formed primarily by heat loss causing melting below freezing temperatures.

- Check for heat loss through the ceiling around light fixtures, electrical wiring and plumbing.

- Ensure plumbing, exhaust fans and chimneys that extend through the ceiling are sealed at penetration areas as they can allow warm air to escape from the house into the attic area.

- Increase roof insulation and make sure it is distributed evenly and extends all the way to the perimeter.

- Install roof and soffit vents to improve attic air circulation and cool down the roof.

- Remove snow with a snow rake after each snowfall to eliminate the main source of water.
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Eaves Trough & Downspout prevention exterior

You can avoid the hassle of water damage through proper maintenance, regular inspections and prompt repairs.

- Regularly clean and maintain eaves troughs and downspouts.  When clogged, water can pour over the side of eaves troughs and run down the side of your foundation.

- Prevent water from collecting near your foundation by installing 6 foot downspout extensions.  Splash pads should be used to help prevent soil erosion.

- Landscape a natural slope away from the house for proper water flow, including areas under stairs and decks.

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Shingles prevention exterior

Ensure your roof and shingles are in good condition.

- Replace blistered, curled or split shingles, and ensure none are missing.

- Inspect the flashing around plumbing vents and chimneys to be sure it is firmly in place.

- Do not wait until your roof leaks to take corrective measures - this leads to expensive repair costs and major disruptions.

- Cut tree branches and limbs that extend over the roof.  This reduces the buildup of leaves and twigs that block eaves troughs and prevents damage caused by fallen limbs during high winds.

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Water Heater prevention basement

Hot water heaters have an expected life span between 5 & 10 years.

- If there is water accumulation beneath the tank, a hissing or whistling sound or chronic hot water shortages, it’s time to replace your water heater.

- Regularly inspect for rust or corrosion at the base of the tank or plumbing connections and replace immediately if any signs of failure are recognized.

- Install a catch pan under the tank which drains water to the sump pit or floor drain.

- Consider installing a water sensor that activates an automatic shut off valve.  These sensors can also be connected to a home alarm system and monitored.

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Backwater Valve prevention basement

Mainline backwater valves are installed in the sewer line and reduce the risk of sewer backup in your home.

- You will need the assistance of a licensed plumber to install a mainline backwater valve.

- Normally backwater valves stay open until a sewer surcharge occurs.  An open valve allows grey water and sewer gasses to vent properly.  When a sewer surcharge does occur, the sewage pushes the valve closed.  When the valve is closed, sewage cannot get in, or out, of a building.

 
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Furnace prevention basement

Never keep combustible items such as paper, cardboard boxes, paint cans and other storage items near the furnace.  Always maintain at least 36” of clear space around the furnace.

- Have a qualified technician inspect and clean your furnace every year, before the heating season begins.

- Never use flammable liquids such as gasoline, paint thinners or glues in the basement.  Dangerous vapours can explode when exposed to the pilot light or flames of the furnace.

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BBQ prevention main

Keep BBQ grills on a level surface at least 2-3 feet away from siding, shrubs, trees and furniture.

- Check gas cylinder tubes regularly for cracking, brittleness and leaks.

- Always light a BBQ with the lid open, and as soon as possible after opening the gas flow.

- Store gas cylinders outside and away from your house and be sure the valves are turned off when not in use.

- After grilling, make sure the BBQ is turned off and the burner flames are out. Also make sure the gas supply is turned off and the lid is closed.

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Door & Entrance Lights prevention main

While there’s no foolproof way to stop every break-in, many burglaries are preventable.  Keep in mind that burglars search for easy targets.

- Choose a single-cylinder dead bolt lock on all exterior doors.  Locks should be backed by a reinforced strike plate with three inch screws.

- Use solid core or metal clad entrance doors along with sturdy door frames firmly attached to your home.

- Be sure entrance doors have wide-angle peepholes or viewing panes so you can see visitors without opening the door.

- Keep entryways, pathways, stairwells, porches, yards and parking areas well lit.

- For your security, keep shrubs trimmed away from your home.  This reduces cover and hiding places for thieves.

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Steps & Walkway prevention main

Slips and falls are one of the most common causes of non-fatal injuries.  All home owners are responsible for managing the risks of slipping and tripping to prevent injury and liability claims.

- To prevent slips and falls, handrails should be installed on stairs having more than three risers.

- To provide fall protection, guardrails should be installed on all open sides of decks or raised surfaces where the elevation exceeds 24”.

- Walkway surfaces should be smooth and level as raised or depressed areas increase the risk of trips and falls.

- To prevent accidents in stairway or walkway areas, improve lighting and keep clear of spills, debris, snow and ice.

- Where rugs or mats are used, make sure they are properly secured and that edges or corners do not present a tripping hazard.

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Flammable Liquids prevention main

Flammable liquids and chemicals need to be stored safely for your protection.

- Store flammable liquids in clearly labeled, self-closing containers and only in small amounts.  Keep them away from heaters, appliances, pilot lights and other sources of heat or flame.  If possible, store these items in an outdoor shed away from your home.

- Chemicals like pesticides, automotive fluids, paint thinner and antifreeze should have child-resistant caps, be clearly labeled and stored on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet.

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Heat Detector prevention main

A heat detector is a fire alarm device designed to respond when the thermal energy of a fire increases the temperature of a heat sensitive element.

- A heat detector should be installed in attached garages and connected to the smoke alarm system.

- Both Rate of Rise and Fixed Temperature heat detectors are effective in warning occupants in the event of a garage fire. Check with your local building official for the type of heat detector best suited for your home.

- For added fire protection and energy efficiency, insulate and cover the wall between the living space and garage with drywall, continuing up through the attic. This creates a sealed fire wall which is required by the building code for all new homes.

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Fire Extinguisher prevention main

When used properly, a fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until firefighters arrive.

- Fire extinguishers do not replace the need to call your local fire department - always call 9-1-1 when a fire occurs, no matter how small.

- Keep a class ABC fire extinguisher in plain view in the kitchen, basement and garage, located away from heat sources.

- Remember the acronym P.A.S.S. to effectively put out a fire: PULL the pin, AIM the nozzle at base of fire, SQUEEZE the handle and SWEEP the nozzle side to side.

- A typical fire extinguisher contains 10 seconds of extinguishing power. If you cannot extinguish the fire, leave the area immediately and close the door. Call 9-1-1 and wait outside for the firefighters to arrive.

- Fire extinguishers should be inspected annually and recharged every 6 years by a certified service company. A hydrostatic test is required every 12 years to ensure that the cylinder is safe to use.

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Ashtray prevention main If possible, restrict smoking to outdoor locations
  • Never smoke when you feel tired or drowsy and never smoke in bed.
  • Never leave a burning cigarette unattended.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays that can’t be knocked over and wet down ashes before disposing in a metal container.
  • Keep matches and lighters in a secure place out of reach of children.
  • Do not butt cigarettes in flower pots as dry peat moss and foliage are highly flammable.
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Hair Dryer prevention main

Never leave appliances plugged in where they might come into contact with water.

- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) prevent electrical shock injuries and should be installed in any area where water and electricity may come into contact.

- Test GFCIs according to the manufacturer’s instructions monthly and after major electrical storms to make sure they are working properly.

- Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many appliances. If additional outlets are required, have them installed by a licensed electrician.

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Toilet prevention main Check hoses and connections on your sink and toilet at least once a year.

- Replace hoses immediately if cut, brittle, frayed, corroded or damaged in any way.

- Replace standard rubber hoses with braided stainless steel reinforced hoses, which will reduce the likelihood of leaks, and provide longer life.

- Consider installing water alarms underneath the sink and toilet for early water detection.
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Space Heater prevention main

Use space heaters only as a supplementary source of heat. These devices are designed for use as temporary heating.

- Keep heater at least 3 feet away from combustible items such as bedding, clothing, drapes and furniture.

- Only use space heaters that have overheat protection, a tip-over switch and a guard around the heating element.

- Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface away from furniture and foot traffic.

- Do not leave the heater operating unattended or while sleeping.

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Smoke Alarm prevention main

Ensure smoke alarms are installed on every level of your home, including the basement, and are located near every bedroom.

- Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries once a year.

- If your battery powered smoke alarm begins to emit a low-power warning, usually a chirping sound, replace the battery immediately.

- For best protection purchase interconnected, combination ionization and photoelectric (dual sensor) alarms. For older homes, wireless interconnected smoke alarms are more affordable than installing hard wired units.

- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

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Carbon Monoxide Detector prevention main

The installation of Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors on every level of your home is a necessary safety precaution to protect your family from this deadly colourless and odorless gas.

- CO is created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane are burned incompletely.

- Sources of CO include furnaces, hot water heaters, gas stoves, fireplaces, blocked chimneys and vehicle exhaust fumes.

- CO poisoning symptoms are similar to the flu without fever: nausea, headache, dizziness, sleepiness, chest pain, unconsciousness.

- Install CO detectors that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory (CSA, ULC) and locate them on every level of your home near sleeping areas.

- If an alarm sounds, evacuate the house and call your gas utility to test your home immediately. Have a qualified service technician inspect and repair all fuel burning appliances if they are identified as the CO source.

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Washing Machine prevention basement The hoses that are provided with new washing machines are typically of low quality, usually lasting no more than four or five years, and can fail without warning.
  • Look for signs of unusual wear like dryness, cracking or swollen points and replace immediately if cut, frayed, rusting, corroded or leaking around the hose ends.
  • Also examine the drain hose at the back of the washer which is inserted into the main drain line. Make sure the hose is secured and won’t dislodge as the washer agitates or drains.
  • Replace both the hot and cold washer hoses every five to seven years, even if they appear to be in good condition.
  • Consider upgrading washing machine hoses to heavy duty stainless steel braided hoses with auto-shutoff connectors.
  • Practice turning off your hose valves when the washing machine is not in use, or install an automatic shut-off valve.
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Clothes Dryer prevention basement The leading cause of clothes dryer fires is the failure to clean the appliance, lint filter and vent.
  • Never operate a dryer without the lint filter and make sure you clean it after each load of laundry.
  • Vent the dryer outdoors using rigid or flexible metal material, and check that the vent flaps open freely when the dryer is turned on.
  • Request a dryer lint removal service clean lint out of the vent pipe once a year.
  • Have your clothes dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Let clothes that have been soaked with flammable liquids like gasoline or paint thinner dry completely before washing and drying as usual.
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Shrubs & Trees prevention exterior

- For better visibility and security, keep shrubs trimmed away from your home. Don’t allow landscaping to provide camouflage or hiding places for thieves or vandals.

- Prune back tree limbs, particularly from upper windows and porch roofs to prevent easy access.

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Electrical Outlet prevention main

Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many appliances. If additional outlets are required, have them installed by a licensed electrician.

- Check for outlets that have loose fitting plugs which can overheat and lead to fire.

- Replace any missing or broken wall plates and install safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.

- Electrical cords must be free of cracks, splits, fraying and other damage as a result of general wear and tear.

- Exposed junction boxes containing energized wiring should be enclosed with a cover plate to prevent electric shock and fire.

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Refrigerator prevention main

Dangerous flammable gasses exist in any garage.

- It is recommended that large appliances be lifted 18” off the floor. This prevents the potential ignition of gasses when compressors and electrical equipment are activated.

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Ladder prevention main

Store your ladder inside the garage and keep it locked. This prevents thieves from easily accessing your roof or second story windows.

- Always use an appropriately sized ladder for projects. Stepladders should be about one meter (three feet) shorter than the highest point you have to reach.

- Open the stepladder spreaders and shelf fully to avoid collapse and make sure that the ladder’s feet are on a firm and level surface.

- Never stand, climb or sit on the stepladder top or pail shelf.

- Maintain three-point contact on stepladders by keeping two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times.

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Power Bar prevention main

Power bars, surge protectors and extension cords are not a substitute for permanent wiring.

- Be sure to use a UL or CSA approved device. These have been tested for safety and effective electronics protection.

- Use only surge protectors or power bars that have an internal circuit breaker. These units will trip the breaker if the power strip is overloaded or shorted to prevent overheating.

- Multi-outlet devices should only be used for computers, audio and video equipment and low amperage office equipment.

- Do not locate in an area where the unit could be covered with carpet, furniture, clothing or any other items that will limit or prevent air circulation, and never use in areas exposed to moisture.

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Garbage & Litter prevention main

Many of the same precautions taken to discourage burglars may also prevent arson and vandalism to your home.

- Keep storage and other infrequently visited areas secure and well lit.

- Be watchful of strangers and immediately report suspicious actions near your home.

- Point out to your children the fire safety rules you follow and discuss the dangers of fire.

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Click on the hot spots for information on how to keep your family and property safe.