October is Fire Prevention month. Hosting community activities supporting this theme tells your resident your interest in them extends beyond their rental payment and the terms of their lease.
Using daylight savings time as a focus point to change batteries in smoke detectors won’t occur in October in 2015 due to some legislative finagling that moves the date based on sunspots or other subjective criteria.
Creating weekly events to focus on Fire Prevention can keep the subject as a focal point throughout the month.
Smoke Detector Education
Schedule to change the batteries and test all smoke detectors. Some smoke detectors are labeled with an expiration date, knowing whether or not this applies your property is important for overall integrity of the smoke detectors. Smoke detectors that are ten years old or older should be replaced according to the National Fire Protection Association. Whether the battery or the alarm is replaced, also provide information for your residents about the smoke detector, how it works, and the importance of its function. Many properties will initiate eviction actions for residents that disable smoke detectors, providing information on the policy, statistics on fires and the importance of smoke detectors may minimize the need for enforcement if the policy is better explained.
Partnering with the local fire department could be a source for training materials or featured speakers for resident events.
Fire Extinguisher Training
A meeting for staff and residents demonstrating how to use a fire extinguisher, is another resident event. This is another opportunity to partner with a local business, possibly a hardware store or fire protection service depending on the availability in the area. Failure to understand the functionality of a fire extinguisher limits the efforts of an individual with the tools to contain a small fire, but lacking in the knowledge to use the device properly.
Scheduling a fire drill or reviewing a building evacuation plan are complicated activities, but the value becomes priceless if an emergency occurs. In mid-rise or high rise buildings hosting meetings for each floor to answer questions and describe an evacuation process may be more effective than a meeting of the entire property.
Renters insurance is usually a highly desired service after an incident. Host an insurance open house, inviting any and all local insurance providers to meet with residents in an Insuance Fair event encouraging residents to get questions answered and secure this service. Many market rate properties require renters insurance, an insurance fair event offers many benefits for residents to ask questions about their policy and better understand the coverage.
As well as residents knowing what to do in case of an emergency, staff members should know in advance what would be expected of them if an emergency occurs. Updating and reviewing the property emergency plan should occur several times each year. (What’s an emergency plan? Future blog subject!)
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