With another hot summer on the horizon and record-breaking highs already under our belt, Olympia Rental & Landlord Services is republishing this important and popular blog about fire safety, with rules and precautions property managers, can employ to avoid fires in rental units.
Fire safety is a real concern this summer in particular. Keeping your property and tenants safe is dire in these dry, tinderbox conditions. Property managers in Olympia need to be proactive in both precautionary measures as well as by educating your tenants about fire hazards and best preventative practices.
There are some legal requirements that need to be followed when it comes to fire prevention. These are pretty basic and should be just the foundation of fire safety and prevention measures you take.
- Fire Extinguishers – You should have a fire extinguisher on each floor of your building. If you have a basement and/or parking garage those each needs an extinguisher too. These need to be inspected once a year by a certified individual. Whether you are managing a large apartment complex or a single home, make sure every tenant knows where the fire extinguishers are and how to use them.
- Smoke Alarms – You should have a smoke alarm in the kitchen and bedrooms, at minimum. It is a good time to notify your residents that you are coming in to check the alarms if they have not been checked in the last few months. It is never a bad idea to change out the batteries in those that are not also connected to the home’s wiring.
- Inspect Wiring – Getting an inspection of your wiring is an important step in fire prevention. Have a professional inspect the home and give it the thumbs up. If wiring needs to be replaced, it is far less expensive to get the work done right away than to deal with the loss of property and the potential threat to tenants’ life and belongings.
Beyond making sure tenants know where the extinguishers are and how to use them, there are other topics tenants should know about in order to best prevent a fire.
- Grilling – Grills should be kept at a safe distance from the building or any other structures. This is a minimum of 10 feet away. This means never grilling on a wood deck or balcony. The best place to put a grill is on a cement slab. If you do not have one, ensure the grass and any shrubbery are watered down before grilling. The grill should never be left unattended and there should always be a fire extinguisher nearby when in use. Douse the hot coals in water when grilling is complete. Never dispose of the burnt contents in anything other than a metal container.
- The Smoking Section – Many landlords choose to prohibit smoking inside buildings. That is a great practice. Take it a step further and educate smokers on where they can and cannot smoke around the property. Talk to them about putting out cigarette butts properly and never dropping them in the grass or on the grounds.
- Candles – Advise against burning candles.
- Dryer Vents – Educate your tenants on how to clean the dryer vents if there is a drier in the unit. This is a major cause of house fires, so the idea should be pressed upon residents that it is best to be home while the drier is running and that the vent should be cleaned between every use.
Talking to residents about these fire prevention measures and ensuring precautions are in good working order is the best way to avoid a tragedy this summer. Stay safe out there and contact us at Olympic Rental & Landlord Services for any questions about these or other property management practices.