seasonal fire safety tips for tenants


Today I have some seasonal fire safety tips for landlords and tenants. If you are a buy and hold investor, these would be great to pass on to your tenants in the form of a newsletter. I first came across this information more than 5 years ago, however, it's still as relevant today as it was then.


Covid-19 and the Holidays

Everyone needs a little cheering up as we deal with Covid-19. This is our new reality at least for this holiday season. Since many of the traditional holiday events, parties, and large family gatherings will be scaled back or canceled altogether, families are getting their decorations up early to get in the holiday spirit.  I hope these tips help make everyone’s holiday a little safer.


Seasonal Fire Safety Tips for Landlords and Tenants – An Overview

Along with the beauty of all those holiday decorations and roaring fires in the fireplace, there are also many hazards and dangers to be aware of. This is valuable information for anyone, but it's especially important for investors that have tenants. It’s the perfect time of the year to pass these reminders on to your tenants so they can help keep YOUR property and their home safe during the holidays.

The holidays should be a magical time for adults and children alike children. Yet each year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 8700 people for injuries, such as falls, cuts, and shocks, related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees.

Why not put together a simple newsletter of seasonal fire safety tips for your tenants and offer an incentive for getting the rent in before the first of January?  Here are some sound tips for keeping Christmas safe.


This Video Shows Just How Fast a Fire Can Get out of Control

This YouTube video shows you just how quickly holiday cheer can turn into disaster. (This will direct you to YouTube, but it's definitely worth the watch).



6 Tips for Christmas Tree Safety

When talking about Christmas safety tips, the Christmas tree is the number one thing we think of.  Here are 8 tips for you.

    1. If you're purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
    2. When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, the needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, the branches don't break. Also, the trunk of a fresh tree is sticky with resin at the bottom. When tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
    3. When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, registers, and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
    4. Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
    5. Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree whenever possible.
    6. Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders and place candles out of children’s reach.

Bonus Tip: You can get poison ivy and poison oak from Christmas trees.  The oil remains on the tree even after it's cut.  I learned this the hard way!


Christmas Safety Tips for Homeowners and Landlords


 8 Bright Ideas for Lights

Have you given any thought to the liability tenants may be unknowingly be causing you?  Here are some more seasonal safety tips for landlords and tenants.

  1. Indoors or outside, always use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory that indicates conformance with safety standards.
  2. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Lights should be replaced every 3 years.
  3. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  4. Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  5. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. You can also run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
  6. Only plug outdoor electric decorations into receptacles with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  7. Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
  8. Christmas lights should be replaced every 3 years. Don't skip this step just to save a few dollars. It can literally cost you your life!


Seasonal Fire Safety Tips When Using Your Fireplace

If you have rental property that happens to have a fireplace, these tips should be passed along to your tenants. They may not know about the dangers fireplaces can pose during the holidays.

  1. Christmas Safety Tips for Homeowners and LandlordsDo not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely. You may also have a chimney fire if it hasn't been cleaned regularly. Burning wrapping paper in a fireplace is especially dangerous.
  2. Before lighting a fire in the fireplace, remove all greenery and other flammable decorations from the mantle and fireplace area. Also, check to be sure that the flue is open.

There you have it.  My list of seasonal safety tips for landlords and tenants.


**This list of Christmas safety tips for homeowners and tenants was provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Reprinted from December 8. 2011


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