Along with the usual bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, painkillers and so on, consider adding an EpiPen in case a guest has an allergic reaction. Be aware that they have a shelf life of 18 months and should be replaced after that.
You should have at least one smoke and CO detector (look for combo units) per floor of any structure with living space (including bunkies and boathouses). Replace the backup batteries twice a year for year-round cottages.
Fire extinguishers are rated for the types of flammable materials that they’re designed to work on. A green letter A means it’s good for wood, paper, fabric, and so on; a red B is for gas, grease, and oil; and a blue C is for electrical fires. A combo ABC model covers all three. And keep a bucket of water near the fire pit.
Have multiple flashlights stashed in key areas— the kitchen, the bathroom, the bunkie, the shed and so on. Replace the batteries annually, or more frequently if they are used regularly. It’s also a good idea to stock a wind-up model that works without batteries.
If you regularly use a chainsaw at the cottage, you should invest in proper safety gear including work boots, gloves, goggles, a hard hat, ear protection, and chainsaw pants.
In addition to properly fitting life jackets for everyone in your family, you should have a mix of extra adult and child-sized life jackets for guests. Attach whistles to them in case anyone is ever in distress. Make sure your boat has all the required safety gear for its size and type. Note that you need to regularly replace the flares—they expire after three years.
The best safety device to have on the water is a maritime radio. In the event of an emergency, use channel 16—you’ll be connected with police and the Coast Guard along with anyone else out on the water monitoring the channel.
Black bears call many parts of cottage country home. If you’re in bear country, have a stockpile of whistles on lanyards and bear spray to carry on walks in the woods. Lean more about what to do in a bear encounter on this Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry page.