Celebrations are an important part of life, and they often come with their fair share of planning, preparing and executing. The last thing you want to deal with while you’re in party-mode is a crisis, whether a candle tips over or a breaker blows. So, we’re here to make sure your celebrations go off without a hitch, no matter where you are. With the right preparation, you can enjoy hazard-free holidays year-round.
How to Prevent Apartment Fires
When it comes to fire safety, there are simple steps you can take to lower the chance of an accident in your apartment. Ensure your electrical cords are not frayed or covered with anything flammable (including carpet). Surge protectors and power bars are a good way to prevent circuits from overloading. Another common culprit of apartment fires are space heaters — always turn them off before you leave home.
Big fan of homemade, candlelit dinners? Enjoy the soft, warm glow while you're in the room, but don’t leave burning candles unattended — and the same goes for cooking food. Holiday celebrations are busy and multitasking often leaves us distracted. When it comes to cooking, focus on one thing at a time so you don’t return from setting the table to a smouldering stovetop. It may seem like common sense to keep anything flammable away from a heat source but even an innocently placed napkin or dishcloth can easily catch fire — even if it’s not directly in contact with the source. This includes loose or baggy clothing, and anything that could hang or catch fire, so please be mindful when you're in the kitchen.
Be Prepared in the Event of a Fire
In the case there is a fire, you want to be prepared. First, you want to clean your kitchen regularly so there’s no grease or grime build up. Make sure your apartment has both a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Smoke alarms should be tested once a month, and have the batteries changed once every six months. Purchase a fire extinguisher and store it in your kitchen for easy access. Memorize the fire exit doors on your floor and in your building, so you can plan an escape route if there’s an emergency. Finally, we recommend investing in a fireproof safe to store jewellery, heirlooms, cash and important documents like passports — your belongings are important.
If you’re cooking food and grease catches on fire, it may feel instinctual to throw water on it, but this will make it worse. If you can do so safely, turn off the heat source and smother the fire by covering it with a lid. You can also pour a box of baking soda over the fire to put it out. If both methods fail, or the fire grows too large to smother, call 9-1-1 and leave your apartment immediately.
Not Home for the Holidays?
If you plan on leaving home during the holiday season, there are a few things you can do to ensure your apartment stays safe and sound. Make sure your doors and windows are locked (including the balcony or patio door). Close your blinds and clear your balcony of debris or other items that may draw attention. A tidy, lived-in-looking home signals safety and security to potential intruders, deterring them from breaking and entering.
When you leave, always lock your door and use both the deadbolt and chain lock. For added security, invest in a door jammer, security bar and/or motion sensor door alarm (if you’re on a budget, check out this sliding door security DIY hack). If you’re worried, you can even set up your own security system as they have become more affordable and accessible with smartphone technology. Insurance companies often require you to have someone check in while you’re away, so consider asking a family member, friend or fellow neighbour who you trust.
At Avenue Living Communities, we encourage renters to get to know their neighbours — not just to foster a greater sense of community but to increase your safety as well. Neighbours are human security cameras, looking out for you and your apartment when you’re not around. Before you head out for an extended period of time, let your neighbours know and ask them to keep an eye out for you. They can store any mail or flyers that come while you’re away (and maybe you can bring them back a trinket or treat from your vacation in return).
In today’s day and age, it’s also important to be mindful about the privacy settings on your social media accounts. Intruders can use public posts to track residents’ whereabouts and when they will be away from their home as a potential time to strike. Consider leaving the television, radio or a light on while you’re gone to give the impression that someone is home. Or, better yet, have a neighbour regularly check in to make sure everything looks shipshape.
One final measure of safety that you should take is purchasing renter’s insurance. This is paramount in ensuring you and your belongings are protected (and required when living in all Avenue Living Communities’ rental properties). While a landlord’s insurance covers the building you live in, renter’s insurance covers your personal property in the event of fire, damage or burglary.
And sometimes even with all the precaution in the world, safety issues can still arise. Please call emergency services if a serious accident occurs. Then please report apartment fires, suspicious activity and any other concerns to your Residential Portfolio Manager, or Customer Experience Centre, firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, the Avenue Living Communities team is here to answer any safety questions you may have.