Last week, we talked about how property managers can prevent winter disasters (whether it be for a residential community or a commercial property). Part of that prevention included educating tenants about fire hazards. Whether you’re a commercial property manager, a community manager, business owner, or private homeowner, winter fire safety is a subject you should be well-versed in.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “fires occur more in winter than any other season.” It’s important to know how you can mitigate this risk, not only for your property, but also for your family members, employees, or tenants’ well being. There are two main contributors to winter fire risk:

Heating Sources

With the magical winter weather comes a not-so-magical winter chill. There’s never a better time to cozy up with a sweater, some hot coco, and an extra source of heat to chase away the cold. But with those extra heating sources (like space heaters, fireplaces, and radiators) comes an increased risk of danger. Here are three things to remember when thinking about how you’ll warm up this winter:

  1. Keep 3 ft of space between heaters and other objects. Putting flammable objects (like furniture, a basket of blankets, home decor, shoes, etc.) too close to a heating source is a huge fire risk! Make sure your heat source has room to breathe with at least 3 feet of space between it and other objects.
  2. Check the functionality of your systems. Be sure to have a professional conduct system maintenance on your HVAC and, if you have one, your fireplace/wood stove and chimney. You should also take this time to change the batteries in or install a carbon monoxide detector!
  3. Use your electrical outlets wisely. Be sure to plug only one heat-producing appliance (like a space heater) into each outlet at a time. It’s also important to plug those heat-producing appliances directly into the outlet, not a powerstrip!

Holiday Decorations

For many people, the winter months are the most wonderful time of the year thanks to the many holidays we get to celebrate with family and friends. And with happy holidays come intricate holiday decorations! One thing we don’t recommend? Imitating the Griswold’s dangerous decorations! Here’s a few things we do recommend:

  1. Keep up with your greenery. If you have a Christmas tree, or use live greenery in your holiday decorations, pay attention to your watering schedule and where you place the decor. Keep trees and other greenery (like garlands) away from heat sources and never near open flames (like from your fireplace or candles).
  2. Stay on a schedule. Remember to turn off any electrical decorations like lights, blow up figures, etc. before you leave the house and be sure you’ve blown out any candles before you leave the house or go to bed! Keeping up with this habit will ensure you don’t forget about any fire hazards.
  3. Be smart about your electrical outlets. Overloading electrical outlets with string lights and other decorations is a huge fire hazard (if only someone told Clark Griswold!). Be sure your power usage is evenly distributed and safe. According to the NFPA, electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in almost half of home Christmas tree fires.

 

Don’t let a fire destroy your property this winter. Follow the above tips and check out more recommendations on winter fire safety over at the NFPA’s website. If you do experience a fire, our team at BYLT is on standby, ready to make things right, together.

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