The holiday season is always magical, but it does present property managers with a unique set of safety concerns. For one thing, residents may go all out with decorations, including string lights and candle, which when improperly handled will create a fire hazard. For another thing, holiday travel means that some residents will be leaving their homes unattended, while others may be hosting out-of-town guests who will be entering and exiting the premises.
To you prepare you for these concerns, we’ve compiled these holiday safety tips to give everyone peace of mind this season:
Everyone loves holiday decorations, but we have to use caution when we use them to beautify our homes. At least one week before Thanksgiving, residents should be given a set of holiday decorating safety guidelines that they can keep on their refrigerators throughout the season. Phrase each guideline in clear and simple language, as in “Use only outdoor lights for patio/balcony decorations” and “Use surge protectors for plugging in multiple items.”
Here are additional reminders you should include on the flier:
To add a personal touch to your safety policies, you can also hold a pre-holiday gathering for residents and staff and verbally announce decorations policies as you greet everyone who arrives. That way, you get into the spirit of the season as a community and reduce the likelihood that mishaps occur.
And of course, redistribute your flier in early to mid-December.
Many times when we travel, we feel anxious about leaving our homes unattended. This is especially true during the holidays when break-ins and thefts will be on the rise. Remind residents that providing safe and secure home is your community’s top priority. Offer to send a staff member around to check on individual units for signs of breaking and entering during the dates residents will be traveling.
While some residents travel during the holidays, others will be hosting visitors. This is a great opportunity to welcome others to your community with good old holiday cheer. At the same time, however, you must take extra precautions.
Your security officers on duty at the the gate or front desk can easily welcome visitors as they normally do. Instruct them to keep a more thoroughly-documented logbook of entrances and exits, including residents’ names and unit numbers, as well as visitors’ license plate numbers.
To help security officers make this process an enjoyable experience for everyone, provide a stack of holiday greeting cards for officers to distribute to residents as they enter the premises. That way, security checkpoints serve a dual purpose: safety and hospitality.
More people shop online than they do in store, which means delivery workers need to gain entry to your community premises on a weekly, even daily, basis. During the holidays, deliveries can double, triple, and quadruple, laying an extra burden on your staff. Managing property in the age of Amazon means that you need systems in place for the year-round and holiday season influx of delivery trucks.
For the month of December, consider designating a corner of your management office for receiving and storing packages on residents’ behalf. Residents always appreciate this kind of convenience, particularly when it reduces the likelihood that a package left in plain sight outside a door will be stolen. Offering this type of service is yet another way to show your residents that security is your top concern. Additionally, some residents may even be willing to pay a nominal fee for this service to ensure they get their holiday packages successfully.
On the other hand, if offering a holiday service like this will overburden your management office, you can recommend that residents have their packages held at a local shipping and receiving center, if they are concerned about doorstep theft.
By addressing these potential issues head-on, your management office will be a step ahead of the holiday madness. And in the event that an accident or mishap does occur, you’ll want to establish a protocol for notifying the authorities and management staff quickly.
Before you head out to enjoy this season, be sure to check out our posts on Recruiting the Right Security Personnel for Your Apartment Community and Three Ways to Improve Customer Service For A Rental Community.
Do you have holiday safety ideas? Share them in the comments!