There’s nothing like a glowing jack o’ lantern to announce that it’s Halloween. But even though they’re super popular during this time of year, jack o’ lanterns can pose serious safety risks to tenants and rental houses alike. As a Norwalk rental property owner, you need to inform your tenants about what they can do to avoid fires and injuries. By sharing a few safety tips, your tenants can continue enjoying their holiday celebrations without accident or injury.
Jack o’ lanterns are common holiday decorations made from emptied out pumpkins with a carved image on the rind. The carving (usually of a scary face) exposes the hollow interior. They are traditionally lit with small candles to give it the ghostly flickering look. Then they are set on porches, patios, and railings for passers-by and trick-or-treaters to enjoy. Now, they can’t be just be placed anywhere— that may result in several safety hazards. Carved pumpkins shouldn’t be next to doorways, walkways, and other easily accessed areas. In particular, carved pumpkins can deteriorate in just a few days, creating a slimy mess of rotting pumpkin that can make stairs and sidewalks slippery. Hornets and other pests, insects that will sting or bite if disturbed, can be found near pumpkins because they are attracted to them.
Adding candles to a jack o’ lantern is another safety issue, particularly if the pumpkins are placed too close to doorways where the costumes or clothing of visitors could catch fire. Halloween decorations cause an estimated $13 million in property damage, dozens of injuries, and even deaths every year. There is a lot you and your tenants can do to prevent such a catastrophe. This is welcome news indeed.
Putting a limit on the length of time that carved pumpkins are left sitting outside will help prevent pumpkin-related messes and spills. Whenever the pumpkin is exposed to the elements for an extended period of time, the more likely that it will start to rot or attract unwanted pests. Ask your tenants if they could wait until just before Halloween to carve and display the pumpkins. They could set them outside right before the festivities begin and properly dispose of them after everything is done. This can help make sure that doorways and walkways are free of those pesky stinging insects. This also lessens the chance of having slippery spills.
There are other ways to make these lanterns. You can suggest to your tenants to carve hardshell gourds or craft pumpkins instead of real pumpkins. The reason is that gourds don’t break down and rot as pumpkins do. This way, they can be displayed for longer periods without worry. Craft pumpkins look like the real thing but last longer since they are made of foam or other materials. And since they’re not made of organic matter, they wouldn’t deteriorate. That means you can carve or decorate them and display them safely year after year.
Always remember that the biggest safety issue with jack o’ lanterns is when they are lit but many other risks can be avoided if you follow these steps. Candles have been, traditionally, the illumination source of choice for carved pumpkins. Nevertheless, their open flames can create a serious fire hazard. If your tenants want to have candles in their decorations, be sure that they understand why they need to take necessary preventive measures.
Tenants should clear away dry leaves and other debris from the area where lit pumpkins will be placed. They should be informed to never leave lit candles unattended, and have them placed at a safe distance from doorways and walkways. Certainly, one of the best ways is to strongly urge your tenants to opt for an alternative lighting source, such as glow sticks, which are non-flammable, do not use batteries or electricity, and are weatherproof. Glow sticks can also be used to illuminate craft pumpkins, unlike candles which should never be used in these decorations.
Carving and displaying jack o’ lanterns is an enjoyable part of Halloween, but only if it is done with the utmost care and precaution. Informing your tenant on jack o’ lantern safety is vital, but it requires a lot of time to do. Quite often, property owners question whether tenant education is a wise use of their time, especially since many property owners feel that time is gold. Instead, think about authorizing Real Property Management Southern Connecticut to do it for you. Our comprehensive property management services include important safety advice to your tenants, allowing you to keep them and your property free from injury and fire hazards. To know more concerning what we can give Norwalk property owners like you, contact us today.
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