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Your Birmingham Tenants and Jack o’ Lantern Safety

Jack O’ Lantern on Porch Steps of a Birmingham Rental PropertyWhen someone says Halloween, the image that comes to mind is a glowing jack o’ lantern. But even though they’re popular, these jack o’ lanterns can pose serious safety risks to tenants and rental houses alike. As a Birmingham rental property owner, it’s crucial that you tell your tenants how to avoid fires and injuries. By sharing a few safety tips, your tenants can have fun and enjoy their holiday celebrations without fear of accident or injury.

Jack o’ lanterns are common holiday decorations made from carved pumpkins where the top is cut off to form a lid and the inside flesh is scooped out. Then an image (usually a scary face) is carved out of the rind to expose a hollow interior. They are traditionally lit with small candles. The flickering flame gives it that eerie factor. Then they are often displayed on porches, patios, and railings. Now, they can’t be placed just anywhere without considering a few things. For example, if you put carved pumpkins next to doorways, walkways, and other easily accessed areas, it can result in several safety hazards. One such instance of this is that carved pumpkins can deteriorate in just a few days, creating a slimy mess of rotting pumpkin that can make stairs and sidewalks slippery. Hornets and other pests, insects that will sting or bite if disturbed, can be found near pumpkins because they are attracted to them.

Adding candles to a jack o’ lantern is another safety issue because if the pumpkins are placed too close to doorways, the costumes or clothing of visitors could catch fire. Halloween decorations cause an estimated $13 million in property damage, dozens of injuries, and even deaths every year. But not to worry. The good news is that there is a lot you and your tenants can do to prevent such a catastrophe.

Putting a limit on the length of time that carved pumpkins are left sitting outside will help prevent pumpkin-related messes and spills. Whenever the pumpkin is exposed to the elements for an extended period of time, the more likely that it will start to rot or attract unwanted pests. If you think your tenants are preparing to carve and display pumpkins, have them hold back until just before Halloween to set them outside. The following morning they can properly dispose of them. This helps keep stinging insects from the doorways and walkways and reduces the chances of slippery spills.

There are alternatives that you can suggest to your clients. They can carve hardshell gourds or craft pumpkins instead of an actual pumpkin. Gourds don’t break down and rot as pumpkins do, making them better if you want to keep the decorations up for a longer period. Craft pumpkins look like the real thing, yet because they are made of foam or other materials, they can last for a considerably long time. And since they never deteriorate, they can be carved or decorated and displayed safely year after year.

By doing these steps, you can help reduce many risks, but the worst safety issue with jack o’ lanterns is when they are lit. Candles, for some time now, have been the illumination source of choice for carved pumpkins, though their open flames can create a serious fire hazard. On the off chance that your tenants opt to utilize candles in their decorations, make sure they know that they need to follow some safeguards.

Tenants should clear away dry leaves and other debris from the area where lit pumpkins will be placed. They should, likewise, be aware that they should never leave lit candles unattended, and to set them at a safe distance from doorways and walkways. Needless to say, one of the best and safest choices might be to strongly advise your tenants to go for an alternative lighting source, such as glow sticks, that 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 safely executed. Instructing your tenant on jack o’ lantern safety is your responsibility, but it requires quite a bit of your time. Often, property owners may wonder if tenant education is the best use of their time since it is such a valuable resource. Instead, why don’t you consider hiring Real Property Management Victory to do it for you? Our comprehensive property management services include important safety advice to your tenants, assisting you to keep them and your property free from injury and fire hazards. If you have any questions about what we can offer Birmingham property owners like yourself, feel free to contact us today.

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