When someone says Halloween, the image that comes to mind is a glowing jack o’ lantern. But even though they’re popular, these jack o’ lanterns can pose serious safety risks to tenants and rental houses alike. As a Bedford County rental property owner, you have to educate your tenants about how they can avoid fires and injuries. By sharing a few safety tips, your tenants can rest easy and enjoy their holiday celebrations without accident or injury.
Jack o’ lanterns are common holiday decorations made from hollowed pumpkins. They empty it out and carve a spooky image (usually a face) on the rind, exposing the hollow interior. Traditionally, these lanterns are lit with small candles to give it that ghostly will-o’-the-wisp look. Then they are often displayed on porches, patios, and railings. Now, you can’t just put them anywhere— that may result in several safety hazards. Carved pumpkins should be placed away from doorways, walkways, and other easily accessed areas. One such instance of this is that carved pumpkins can deteriorate in just a few days, creating a slimy mess of rotting pumpkin that can make stairs and sidewalks slippery. Pumpkins easily draw in hornets and other pests, insects that will sting or bite if disturbed as well.
Adding candles to a jack o’ lantern is another safety issue. If the pumpkins are placed too close to doorways, the costumes or clothing of visitors could catch fire. Every October, Halloween decorations cause an estimated $13 million in property damage, dozens of injuries, and even deaths. As luck would have it, there is much that you and your tenants can prepare for in order to avert such a disaster.
When you cap the total amount of time that carved pumpkins are left sitting outside, you can easily prevent pumpkin-related messes and spills. The longer the pumpkin is kept outside and exposed to the elements, the higher the possibility that it will begin to rot or attract unwanted pests. Try to convince your tenants to wait just before Halloween to carve and display pumpkins. They can set them outside while they’re still fresh and then properly dispose of them the following day. This helps keep stinging insects away from the doorways and walkways and also reduces the possibility of slippery spills.
There is another way to make these lanterns. You can show your tenants that they can carve hardshell gourds or craft pumpkins instead. Gourds don’t break down and rot as pumpkins do, making them the better option if you’re going for something that can be displayed longer. Craft pumpkins look like the real thing but are comprised of foam or other materials that last longer. And since they don’t decompose or rot, they can be carved or decorated and displayed safely year after year.
It is quite easy minimizing the many risks by following these. Keep in mind though that the biggest safety issue with jack o’ lanterns is when they are lit. Candles, for the longest time, have been the illumination source of choice for carved pumpkins, however, their open flames can create a serious fire hazard. Just in case your tenants insist on including candles in their decorations, see to it that they understand and take precautionary measures ahead of time.
Tenants should clear away dry leaves and other debris from the area where lit pumpkins will be placed. They should, likewise, be aware that they should never leave lit candles unattended, and to set them at a safe distance from doorways and walkways. Needless to say, one of the best and safest choices might be to strongly advise your tenants to go for an alternative lighting source, such as glow sticks, that 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 you exercise caution when doing it. Instructing your tenant on jack o’ lantern safety is your responsibility, but it requires quite a bit of your time. Often, property owners may wonder if tenant education is the best use of their time since it is such a valuable resource. Instead, why don’t you consider hiring Real Property Management Cairn to do it for you? Our comprehensive property management services include important safety advice to your tenants, letting you keep them and your property free from injury and fire hazards. To find out more regarding what we have for Bedford County property owners like you, contact us today.
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