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Winter is a slow time of year for many industries, but property owners shouldn’t be so quick to stick that label on the season. It’s true that more people move during the summer months, but moving new tenants in isn’t the only responsibility that a property manager has. It’s essential that safety remains a key priority.

The majority of accidents occur during the winter months including fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and slips and falls. Being prepared and responsible as a manager will help you reduce the risk of managing properties and minimize potential issues. Keep these safety tips for winter in mind to reduce accidents.

Fire injuries

Fires are one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries for property managers, based on information from FEMA. The number of home fires tends to increase in the winter between December and February due to an electrical malfunction, candle incidents, or cooking mishaps. Other potential sources of fire include broken furnaces, homes without ventilation resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning, or electric heaters.

Safety tips to reduce risk

  • Check the furnace yearly before the cold sets in
  • Limit the use of portable heaters unless they meet updated safety standards
  • Discourage residents from using candles if possible
  • Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors at least twice a year to ensure that they’re functional. Replace batteries if needed.

Dangers with ice

Slips and falls skyrocket when icy conditions prevail. Driveways, parking lots, and pathways become slick and increase the risk of falls, especially among the elderly, disabled, or young children. Keep these areas salted and shoveled. Don’t allow snow or ice to accumulate since it’ll be harder to eventually remove the buildup. It might be tempting to put the responsibility on the tenants, but you’ll keep the property safer by taking charge and keeping highly trafficked areas clean. If you do require your tenants to handle snow removal, ensure that it is listed in the lease and actually enforced when winter comes around

Winter tends to be a dangerous time for safety. Accidents can be avoided if proper safety precautions are taken and practiced regularly. Accidents increase liability for property managers and have the potential to lead to injuries, lawsuits, lost revenue, or even death. Safety is an investment that pays for itself over and over.