2 Fire Prevention Tools You Can’t LiveWithout this Fall SEASONAL CHEER GOES BETTER WITH FIRE SAFETY.

appropriate pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions and do not show signs of wear like dents or rust. If they look worn, replace them immediately. These products should have an expiration date printed right on the product. Check the date when you do your routine inspections of the property to make sure they work when needed.

should be able to locate the extinguishers and operate them properly. Training can greatly increase your tenants’ ability to effectively use them. Types: Multipurpose

them where smoke and carbon monox- ide detectors and fire extinguishers are located. Just letting them know that you have provided them is not enough. In- clude provisions in your lease that speak to fire and other types of safety in the home and explain the benefits to them and their families. Showing you care for their well-being builds goodwill that can motivate a good tenant to take even better care of your property. •

extinguishers, known as ABC or BC, are good choices for rentals because they help put out a variety of fires. Many fire departments also recommend StoveTop FireStop’s inexpensive line of cooktop fire protection [see author bio for info], which uses a simple method to deliver a fire suppressant directly onto the pan on fire below, extinguishing it immediately. In many cases, the only costs to the landlord from the “fire damage” are associated with cleaning up the suppressant that put out the fire. Extinguishers of all types are a good trade-off for landlords because for about $50 a landlord stands to save paying their insurance deductible, repairing their property, relocating a tenant, and the loss of rental income simply by preventing the spread of the extremely common kitchen fire. Testing: Chemical extinguishers like ABC and BC extinguishers must be shaken monthly to prevent the powder inside from settling. Be sure that they still have the

by BreAnn Stephenson


ires cause some of the most com- mon and severe types of property damage. As we enter the fall season, the risk for your properties going up in flames dramatically increases. HERE’SWHY: The National Fire Protection Associa- tion (NFPA) found cooking equipment to be “the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries and [tied] with heating as the second leading cause of home fire deaths” in their 2014 report. Thanksgiving ranked as the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Based on those statistics, if a fire occurs at your property during the cooler season, it will likely be the result of your tenant burning their tur- key when Granny, Aunt Billie, and Uncle Hugh come to visit. Before you start keeping yourself up at night wondering if your tenant turned off the stove or are tempted to install cameras in the kitchen to monitor the room for fires (highly illegal!), first be sure you are utiliz- ing these crucial loss prevention products: smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Your property, and perhaps your tenants’ lives, can be saved with two simple and inexpensive tools.

the likelihood of

also require working smoke detectors to cover you for a fire. Smoke detectors quickly alert an occu- pant to the presence of that fire, potential- ly in enough time to

occupants hearing the alarm because when one alarm sounds, the others will as well. Testing: Test your smoke alarms at least once a month, and replace the

MOST IMPORTANTLY - EDUCATE YOUR TENANTS From the beginning of the rental relationship, you should educate your tenants on how to properly maintain the rental property. Even the best tenants don’t know

BreAnn Stephenson is the assistant vice president of Affinity Loss Prevention Services. Helping you stop “bad stuff” from happening at your property is her mission. She may be reached at www., where you can also find discount codes for StoveTop FireStop’s cooktop line and other protective products.

put it out. Also consider installing carbon mon- oxide (CO) detectors in your units; CO is odorless and colorless so it is often called the “silent killer.” Placement: Place detectors in every bedroom and outside every sleeping area on each level of the property. For floors without bedrooms, install the alarm in the most utilized room (i.e. the living room or den). Don’t forget to place alarms near stairways as well. Avoid false alarms in kitchens by placing the detector at least 10 feet from any cooking appliance. Lastly, don’t install smoke detectors near windows, doors or ducts. The drafts in these areas could potentially interfere with the alarm’s operation. Types: There are two types of detector, ionization and photoelectric. Ionization detectors are better at detecting flaming fires while a photoelectric detector is better suited to sense smoldering fires. “Dual sensor” detectors have both ionization and photoelectric sensors to cover both bases. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, interconnecting smoke alarms by the same manufacturer can increase

everything about home ownership and may need friendly remind- ers about keeping your property and themselves safe. Demonstrate how to operate fire extinguishers and do a walk- through to show

batteries at least twice a year. Work the operation checks


into your monthly rent collections. An easy way to remember the battery replacements is to do them when daylight savings time “springs forward” and “falls back.” Smoke detectors do eventually wear out, so replace the whole unit every 10 years or more frequently. Portable fire extinguishers are effective in extinguishing minor blazes about 95 percent of the time. In approximately 90 percent of known incidents where fire extinguishers were used, the fire depart- ment did not need to be called. Extin- guishers also assist occupants in con- trolling the fire until the arrival of trained firefighting personnel. A fire can become life-threatening in just two minutes, so extending the window of escape could be crucial to saving your tenant’s life. Placement: Place fire extinguishers close to exits, at least one on each floor. Common areas for placement are hallways and gathering areas such as living rooms, kitchens, basements, and garages. Tenants LOSS PREVENTION TOOL #2 FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

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In addition to keeping you compliant with local ordinances, a working smoke detector halves the chance of a tenant dy- ing in a house fire. Many insurance carriers 816.398.4114 Learn more at:

Place smoke detectors in every bedroom and outside every sleeping area on each level of the property, as well in the most- utilized room on each level.

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