Preparing your Rentals for Fire Season

If you live in a dry climate, or somewhere prone to wildfires during Summer, then you know all too well about fire season. While reviewing your rental community’s fire safety procedures will add a little extra work, in the end it can keep your community safe. Wildfires are no joke; we’ve all heard of families losing everything from fires, flames jumping over freeways and people narrowly escaping burning structures. However, most of the time we don’t realize how significant fire safety is until the air feels thick, the sky is burnt orange, and the flames are right outside our doors. It’s a confusing and terrifying experience that can be avoided by spending a little extra time going over fire safety procedures.

Making sure your community is prepared for fire season is a priority, but we know you’re busy. Don’t miss a single detail with this fire safety checklist.

  • defensible place ©2016 CAL FIRE,

    Inspect that all fire alarms and CO2 alarms are working.

  • Examine fire extinguishers for damage.
  • Make sure chimneys and heating equipment are clean and maintained.
  • Inspect and clean communal BBQs.
  • Make sure your community’s landscaping standards are being met with defensible space.
  • Review your leasing office’s first aid kit and add any missing necessities.
  • Post notice of evacuation procedures and nearby fire exits in your communal areas and newsletter.
  • Post fire safety precautions for your residents on your social media and newsletter. Some examples are: not leaving the stove or candles unattended, not putting anything close to heaters, and maintaining smoking regulations.
  • Schedule a fire safety check with your local fire department.
  • Go over fire safety procedures with your staff.

If you manage single family rentals, have you created defensible space in the event of a wildfire? Click here for a checklist on clearing proper zones around the structure.

In addition to inspecting your community and reminding your residents of fire safety measures they should be taking, now might be a good time to train your staff. You should go over your fire safety policy (like who’s responsible for reporting the fire), evacuation routes, as well as fire prevention methods with your leasing team. The Seattle Fire Department also urges in their Fire Safety Handbook for Apartment Managers that you conduct fire drills with your staff, keeping record of the following information for every drill:

  1. People conducting the drill (those participating and on duty)
  2. Date and time of the drill
  3. Notification method used
  4. Number of occupants evacuated
  5. Special conditions simulated
  6. Problems encountered
  7. Time required to accomplish the evacuation

The more fire drills you practice, the more prepared you and your team members will be. Encourage your residents to take part in a fire drill by making it a resident event. Contact your local fire department to see if they’ll be able to contribute to the event. If you’re unable to make an event out of it, use the National Fire Protection Association’s family-friendly community tool kit as a resource for your residents.

Don’t let fire season creep up on you. Start making sure your community is fire safe before it’s too late. Use our fire safety checklist to stay on top of this fire season. The sooner you start working with your team on potential natural disaster scenarios, the better. Fire season has just begun, and it’s only way.

What fire safety procedures does your property have? How soon do you start prepping for fire season? Let us know your fire safe policies in the comments section below and be sure to subscribe!

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Becky Bower is the Content Strategist here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.

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