Summer is a great time to get outside. Many people enjoy camping and cooking out, whether it’s with a grill or a little backyard campfire.
The summer months also bring hot temperatures and dry grass. It’s important to know how to stay safe when cooking outside this summer and how your home insurance covers these kinds of damages.
It’s not only important to have homeowner’s insurance, but you also need to understand how your insurance rates are calculated. Comparing rates among different insurance companies can help you find the most affordable and adequate coverage for your home.
A homeowner’s protection class is one factor that determines insurance rates. Finding coverage for protection class 10 homeowners insurance will be more costly and difficult to obtain, so it’s important to understand what this means.
What is a homeowners insurance protection class?
We know that having homeowner’s insurance is important to protect our investment and financial assets. Homeowners insurance rates are based on different variables, one of them being public protection classes (PPCs).
PPCs are part of how an insurance company calculates risk level. These PPCs have codes from 1 to 10, with additional levels attached to each number.
The common names are public protection classes and fire protection classes. Simply put, a fire protection class lets the insurance company know how much it will cost the insurance company if there is a fire at your home.
Class 1 and Class 2 are usually lower risk for fires, while Class 10 is the highest risk for a fire. Homeowners insurance rates will be higher for those in Class 9 and Class 10. It might also be difficult to get coverage in these two classes.
Regardless of which PPC your home is classified as, you can always take proper steps and precautions for safe camping and cookouts.
Tips for Safe Camping and Cookouts
There are several precautions you can take to help keep your home and your loved ones safe. Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but accidents that involve fire happen everyday across the U.S., so these are good things to remember.
Get Permits and Follow Restrictions
Before you have a campfire, make sure you have any necessary permits and review all restrictions for fires. These will vary by location, so check with your local fire department for the most updated and correct information.
Use a Firepit if Possible
If possible, use a designated fire pit. If not, clear a place free of grass and debris within a wide enough diameter. This will keep fires in a designated spot and prevent fires from spreading.
Wear Proper Clothing
To avoid burns or clothing fires, clothing should be tight-fitting. Shoes should be closed toed — no sandals or flip-flops.
Keep the Grill or Fire in a Safe Place
Make sure there are no trees, garages, or other outdoor structures around an open flame.
The area around the fire should be downwind, open, and well-ventilated. It must be far away from any tents.
Never Leave a Grill Unattended
This is one of the most simple tips to follow. One of the most important home fire safety tips you can follow is to never leave your cooking unattended. Any time there is an open flame, someone needs to be close to the fire and make sure to keep an eye on it at all times.
Always Have a Pail of Sand or Water Nearby
This is so you have a quick way to put out the fire if it is getting unmanageable. A fire extinguisher would also work if you don’t have sand or water.
Your fire should be easily extinguishable at any time. Avoid gasoline or other flammable materials because they can cause an explosion.
Keep Children and Pets Away from the Fire
Children and pets should be at least three feet away from the fire at all times. There should always be adult supervision, and they should never be left unattended around a fire.
Pay Attention to Burn Bans
Burn bans are put into effect when the weather increases the risk for fires. These do not always include recreational fires, but it is important to follow any local regulations or policies.
Make Sure to Douse the Fire
Any fires should be properly extinguished before going to bed or leaving the fire. You can either cover the fire with water or sand and stir. Even if you think the fire has gone out, you should douse it just to make sure.
Practice Food Safety
When food has been sitting out for too long, it can cause food poisoning. Anything refrigerated should not sit out for more than two hours. If it’s above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, this time should not exceed one hour.
Potato salad, leftovers, and meat should be kept cold until it is ready to eat. If it has been sitting out for too long, throw it away. Foods that don’t need refrigeration, like chips, crackers, bread, peanut butter, or other non-perishables, are fine to leave out.
Keep coolers with plenty of ice for cold foods. A good general rule is to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Frozen water bottles are great for keeping a cooler cold, and then you can drink the water after it has melted.
Keep a separate cooler for ice used for drinking and ice used for storing drinks. The bacteria from our hands can contaminate the ice if people are constantly reaching in to grab a drink, which can end up in our cup.
If your cookout or camping occurs during the daytime hours, you will need sunscreen. A sunburn is not only uncomfortable, it can also make you more susceptible to skin cancer.
Sunscreen is an easy way to prevent a miserable sunburn and health issues later in life.
Use Bug Repellent
Bugs can be a real pest in the summer so insect repellent is one of the essential items for camping or cookouts. A bug spray or other types of bug repellent can keep the bugs from ruining your outdoor adventures.
It’s important to always drink plenty of water during outdoor activities. If you are consuming alcohol, you need to drink even more water than normal. Alcohol is a diuretic, which causes your body to lose more water.
Use Fireworks Safely
If your outdoor cookout or campout involves fireworks, make sure you are using them safely. Adults should always supervise, fireworks should never be pointed at anyone, and light only one firework at a time.
Enjoy Your Summer Camping and Cookouts
By following a few safety precautions, you can make sure your friends and family are safe during the summer months. Understanding your fire protection class is also helpful and important for all homeowners because it affects your homeowner’s insurance rates.
Melissa Morris writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, TheTruthAboutInsurance.com. She is a professor of health sciences and human performance.