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Your Burlington Tenants and Jack o’ Lantern Safety

Jack O’ Lantern on Porch Steps of a Burlington Rental PropertyIs there anything better that can declare the coming of Halloween like a glowing jack o’ lantern? But regardless of their popularity, jack o’ lanterns can present serious safety risks to tenants and rental houses alike. A responsible Burlington rental property owner makes sure they inform their tenants about what to do to avoid fires and injuries. By sharing a few safety tips, you can assist your tenants in enjoying their holiday celebrations without accident or injury.

Jack o’ lanterns are typical holiday decorations which are regularly put on porches, patios, and railings, and are traditionally lit with small candles. But setting carved pumpkins next to doorways, walkways, and other easily accessed areas can result in several safety hazards. For example, carved pumpkins can deteriorate in just a few days, creating a slimy mess of rotting pumpkin that can make stairs and sidewalks slippery. Pumpkins can also attract hornets and other pests, insects that will sting or bite if disturbed.

Adding candles to a jack o’ lantern is another safety issue, especially if the pumpkins are placed too close to doorways where the costumes or clothing of visitors could catch fire. Each year, Halloween decorations cause an estimated $13 million in property damage, dozens of injuries, and even deaths. The good news is that there is a lot you and your tenants can do to prevent such a catastrophe.

One of the best ways to prevent pumpkin-related messes and spills is to limit the amount of time that carved pumpkins are left sitting outside. The longer the pumpkin is exposed to the elements, the more likely that it will start to rot or attract unwanted pests. If your tenants are planning to carve and display pumpkins, encourage them to wait until just before Halloween to set them outside, and then to properly dispose of them immediately afterward. This can help keep doorways and walkways free of stinging insects and slippery spills.

Another option would be to encourage your tenants to carve hardshell gourds or craft pumpkins instead of the real thing. Gourds don’t break down and rot as pumpkins do, which means they can be safely displayed for much longer periods. Craft pumpkins look like the real thing but are made of foam or other materials that last. These can also be carved or decorated and displayed safely year after year since they never deteriorate.

While these steps can help reduce many risks, perhaps the biggest safety issue with jack o’ lanterns is when they are lit. Candles have long been the illumination source of choice for carved pumpkins, but their open flames can create a serious fire hazard. If your tenants plan to use candles in their decorations, make sure that they know first to take important precautions.

Tenants should clear away dry leaves and other debris from the area where lit pumpkins will be placed. They should also understand the importance of never leaving lit candles unattended, and to place them at a safe distance from doorways and walkways. Of course, one of the safest options would be to encourage your tenants to use an alternative lighting source, such a 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 safely. Educating your tenant on jack o’ lantern safety is an important job, but one that takes time. If, as they say, time is money, then you may well wonder if tenant education is the best use of your valuable time. Instead, consider hiring Real Property Management Sterling to do it for you. Our comprehensive property management services include important safety advice to your tenants, helping you keep them and your property free from injury and fire hazards. To learn more about what we have to offer Burlington property owners like you, contact us today.

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