With retail outlets playing “Jingle Bell Rock” overhead since the day after Halloween, it’s hard to forget that the holidays are just around the corner. While this time of year is a great time to enjoy the company of your loved ones, it also important to note that the holiday season also presents its own particular set of dangers. Please read the below tips for keeping safe this holiday season, particularly tailored for renters and their landlords.
Holiday decorations can be wonderful and are great to help you get into the holiday spirit. However, they are also responsible for thousands of fires each year, causing numerous deaths, injuries, and many thousands of dollars in damage.
Let’s start with the fact that many families bring a live tree into their home each Christmas. They are beautiful, but they are also potentially kindling. Prevent damage by making sure you keep your real trees watered. This can mean up to a gallon of water a day to keep the branches from becoming dry and brittle, increasing the risk of fire.
Real or artificial, avoid placing your tree near a heat source such as a fireplace, floor vent, or radiator. Oh, about the lights…
Indoor Christmas lights should be replaced every three to four years, and they are much less expensive than a fire. When replacing your lights, look for smaller lights that emit less heat. Remember to unplug your indoor lights when you leave during the day as well as when going to bed at night. Finally, under no circumstances should you connect more than three strings of lights to one extension cord.
Landlords, if putting up exterior lighting, remember to check for broken or burned out bulbs. Caution your tenants against going onto the roof to decorate to avoid roof damage or costly injuries. Ensure that any extension cords used outside are rated for outdoor use and plugged into GFCI outlets.
Never leave candles unattended, even for a few minutes. Better yet, skip the candles entirely. If you do allow them, make sure they are not placed too near flammable items or in reach of pets or kids. Make sure to use proper and stable candleholders.
The holiday season is also unfortunately notable for an uptick in burglaries. Fortunately, there are many ways to deter these would be burglars. For starters, lock things. Doors, windows, gates, and so forth should always be locked. If there are any windows that open sideways, make sure that there are rods or dowels in the track to prevent them from being forced open. If a security system is in place, make sure that it is armed whenever possible.
Give the appearance of being home when you are away or awake while asleep by leaving a light or TV on that will brighten an outdoor window. You can purchase an outlet timer for this purpose to help keep down electricity costs. If going out of town, ask a neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers, etc., as well as any advertisements or packages left on your doorknob or doorstep. Avoid posting about your travel plans on social media.
Though your tree is likely just as beautiful as you think it is, you might consider making it difficult to see through any windows. That pile of gifts underneath can act as an invitation to would-be burglars. Also, avoid leaving the boxes from expensive gifts out on the street, announcing your desirable property to the world. Break down boxes and place them in garbage cans or bags.
Be very careful about opening the door to strangers. Often, criminals will stop by a site they are planning to rob and knock on the door, hoping to get a look inside to help with their planning. Not to mention, that even cracking the door could be allowing access for a home invasion.
But Most of All...
Enjoy the season! Sure, take precautions to protect yourself and your property, but remember that this time of year is about joy, reflection, family, and friends. From all of us at JMZ Management, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!