Once again, the holidays are going to look a little different this year.
While last year’s holiday season saw many people staying home due to the pandemic and social distancing regulations, this year some families may be open to a more-normal celebration. However, you may find that many of your tenants will try to keep the festive season alive at home without traveling to visit extended family.
This means that landlords and managers need to be proactively passing along key holiday safety information to keep your tenants and rentals safe this season. After all, staying home for the holidays may mitigate the risk of COVID-19, but other safety concerns need to be addressed before anyone takes on traditional preparations. A tenant newsletter, a text message with a link to relevant information, or a reminder in your software’s tenant portal can be a quick and effective way to ensure your tenants stay safe during the holiday season.
Kitchen Safety Tips to Prevent Kitchen Fires During the Holidays:
The National Fire Protection Association states that 50 percent of house fires start in the kitchen. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Eve. This year could prove especially volatile since inexperienced cooks may be tempted to take on the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Landlords and property managers should be especially aware of how essential a brief reminder about kitchen safety can be for your tenants and your investment.
Pass along these simple reminders to your tenants:
- Test your smoke alarms before cooking to ensure they are working properly.
- Do not leave the kitchen unattended and keep an eye on the food.
- Keep your stovetop free of cooking utensils and debris (oven mitts, in particular, can easily catch fire when too close to a burner or hot pot).
- Avoid cooking while under the influence.
- Check on your turkey frequently and do not leave the home while it is cooking
- Keep children at least 3 feet away from the hot stove. Keep children away from hot liquids; a splash or steam from cooking food could cause serious injury. Additionally, ensure children are not near sharp utensils or have access to pull on cords from electric appliances like electric knives, plate warmers etc.
- Check your seasonal appliances to ensure cords are in good working order and not frayed.
- Keep the floor clear of debris and clean up any spills to prevent tripping or slipping with hot items in hand.
Additionally, make sure your tenants know how to put out a grease fire or an electrical fire if one were to occur due to too hot oil or a faulty kitchen appliance.
Holiday Decoration Safety Reminders:
As Christmas and Hanukkah approach, you tenants may begin decorating for the holiday season. While this festive tradition is sure to bring much-needed joy to an unprecedented year, remind tenants to keep an eye out for safety hazards. This is also a good time to slip in a few reminders about your open flame policy and what types of decorations are allowed. Pass along some damage-free decor ideas for the holidays to ensure they can celebrate without causing permanent changes to the property. Since electric holiday decorations are used year-after-year and then stored, remind your tenants to look out for wear and tear that these items can face.
Alongside this general reminder, pass along these key holiday decoration safety tips:
- Replace any electric decorations with worn or frayed cords.
- Do not leave electric decorations on while sleeping or away from the home.
- Avoid overloading outlets, and do not connect more than 3 strings of lights together.
- Candles start almost half of home decoration fires; never leave candles unattended, and be sure to extinguish them before sleeping. Consider opting for battery-operated candles instead.
- Ensure that all electrical cords are not pinched by furniture or forced into tight spaces.
- Keep live trees well-hydrated and away from heat sources and ensure that faux trees are labeled “fire-resistant.” Consider keeping a fire extinguisher next to your tree.
- For any decor installment in high places, use a proper ladder and ensure someone is there to support the base. If you are using a ladder, always keep three points of contact on the ladder (2 hands and 1 foot or 2 feet and 1 hand) and follow the 1-to-4 rule for extension ladders: for every four feet the ladder rises, move the base out one foot from the structure.
Be Smart About Travel Plans:
While everyone will need to be aware of their local or state guidelines for COVID-19; some will choose to travel regardless. Whether visiting a family cabin while social distancing or choosing a different holiday plan, there are some important things your tenants should consider if they are going out of town. Remind your tenants to inform you if they will be gone for an extended period of time. (Especially if your rental resides in a state where renters are legally required to inform their landlord of extended vacation plans or if the lease may offer the same stipulations.) This can ensure you are able to inspect the property for issues such as criminal activity or a burst pipe that would otherwise go unnoticed since the occupants are away.
Finally, since December is a peak month for burglaries, direct your tenants to the safety tips outlined in this article: Renter Safety: Keep Your Residents Safe from Burglaries During the Holidays
Keeping your tenants and property safe this holiday season may be as simple as a quick newsletter update. Especially when it comes to kitchen fire and holiday decor safety, a little prevention can go a long way to ensure a safe and happy holiday season for everyone involved.