Halloween is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for many Americans – children and adults alike! It’s a night full of candy, costumes, and fun. While it can be an exciting time for all, it is important to stay safe so that you don’t become another scary statistic.
- Small children should never be allowed to carve pumpkins. Instead they can use markers to draw faces or pictures on the pumpkin while the parents do the carving.
- Open flames left unattended can lead to disaster. Consider using a flashlight or glow sticks to light your jack-lanterns this year. If you do still choose to go the traditional candle route, a votive candle is safest.
- When planning costumes, be sure to incorporate pieces into the costume that are bright and reflective. Whether you’re out trick or treating with your kids or walking to a nearby party, it is important that you make it easy for drivers to see you – especially if you’ll be walking on a street that doesn’t have great lighting.
- Consider using non-toxic makeup as an alternative to a mask this year as masks can limit or block your eyesight .
- Choose wigs and accessories that are clearly labeled as flame resistant. Many people choose to light candles as Halloween decorations, and if you happen to lean in the wrong place, it could mean trouble!
- About twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year. Make sure that younger kids are accompanied by a responsible adult when trick-or-treating. If they’re going with a larger group, there should be more than one adult so that every child can be accounted for at all times. If your older children are going on their own, review/plan their route ahead of time and agree upon a curfew for them to be home.
- Bring flashlights with fresh batteries with you on your route so that you can see where you’re going, and so that others may see you as well.
- Only trick-or-treat at homes with porch lights on. And never go into someone’s home or car for treats.
- Always walk on the sidewalk when available. If you are on a street with no sidewalk, walk on the edge of the street as close to the curb as possible while facing traffic.
- If you will be driving when other are out trick-or-treating, make sure to drive safely. Slow down and stay alert, especially if you are driving in a residential area.
- Staying in to hand out candy? Be sure to keep your front path/porch/etc. clear of any trip hazards and make sure your house is well lit in the area where trick-or-treaters will be walking.
- If your pets get anxious with so many visitors, try keeping them restrained in a back room with music or a television on so that they are unaware of the trick-or-treaters. You may also be able to drop them off at a “day care” for pets. Many places stay open late on Halloween for pets with anxiety.
It’s Fire Prevention Week! This year the National Fire Protection Association is reiterating the importance of planning at least two ways out when creating your fire escape plan.
About only half of Americans have developed a home fire escape plan – a quarter of those have never even practiced it. Planning (and practicing!) an escape route from your home can be the difference between life and death if there is ever a fire in your home. A regularly practiced fire escape plan can ensure that everyone in the home knows what to do and where to go when there’s a fire.
Home fires can spread very quickly, and that is why it is so important to plan at least two ways out of every room. If the fire spreads and blocks your first path out, you need to be able to react quickly and move on to plan B.
Your home fire escape plan should include working smoke alarms on every level of the home, as well as in every bedroom. There should be two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window. The escape plan should also include a clear path to an outdoor meeting place (like a tree or mailbox) that is a safe distance from the home. Once you’ve created your home escape plan, be sure to practice it at least twice a year with all members of the household, including pets!
Unlike other parts of the country, rain isn’t the main cause of water damage in homes and other buildings in Orange County. Get to know some of the common causes of water damage so that you can do what you can to prevent it from happening on your property.
- Broken Pipes – A broken pipe can do a lot of damage to your home in just a short amount of time. Before you know it, gallons short amount of time. Before you know of water could be spewing through your home. Pay close attention to any leaks, drips, and signs of deterioration. Have a plumber come out to your house for regular maintenance, and if there ever is a broken pipe, you can always turn the water off before the plumber arrives in order to avoid further damage.
- Pinhole Leaks – common if a home has copper plumbing, a pinhole leak is a puncture of a copper pipe due to corrosion. If your home has a copper water system, check your pipes for signs of corrosion often.
- Old/Faulty Appliances – If you’re fridge or washing machines aren’t maintained well, or have gotten too old, they could start to leak and create a significant amount of water damage in your home. It’s especially important to keep an eye on the appliances in your kitchen, as water damage caused by your fridge or dish washer can affect not just your floor, but your cabinets as well. Often times, leaks that go undetected for some time will cause significant water damage behind cabinets, which in turn can lead to mold if the problem goes unnoticed for an extended period.
- Roof Leaks – We don’t typically see much rain here in Southern California, but when we do, a lot of homeowners tend to suffer water damage due to roof leaks. Check your roofs frequently and take care of any maintenance or repairs while the weather is still sunny. That way you won’t have to worry about your home flooding next time a storm hits.
- Accidents – Sometimes luck just isn’t on your side and one tiny mistake can lead to a big problem. A clogged toilet or too much soap in the dishwasher or washing machine can have water coming across your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. These parts of the home are generally better equipped than the rest of the house to handle a larger spill, but water moves fast and could potentially cause damage to the walls, ceiling, or other rooms in the home. If an accident ever does occur that you think calls for a professional, call SERVPRO of Tustin and we’ll make it like it never even happened!
Whether it’s managing multiple properties, or taking care of everyone at home, we could all use a little help sometimes; that’s why we LOVE these apps that were designed to make life just a little bit easier. The best part about all of these apps? They’re all available to download for FREE!
- Evernote: Dubbing itself “your second brain,”, Evernote is an app that will collect, organize, and share notes from anywhere. You can collect all of your notes in one place and easily search for them in the app. You can also use Evernote’s various features to enhance your notes with tables, links, checklists, etc. It’s a perfect app for de-cluttering. It’s even available on your computer with a Google login.
- Habitica: It’s a task manager that turns your tasks into games! Habitica lets you input your habits, daily goals, and your to-do list. You even get to create a custom avatar! You earn points and “level-up” as you check off tasks and eventually earn in game or custom made rewards (like watching an episode of your favorite show) as you complete more tasks.
- Venmo: Don’t have cash? That’s ok! Venmo lets you share money instantly and securely with friends via the app. You can also request money from a friend as a way to remind them about any money they owe you. You can connect your contacts and Facebook account to find friends more easily. All you have to do is connect your bank account so that you can send and receive money. An money you are sent in the app is saved in your Venmo account, and you can cash it out to your regular bank any time (if you have money in your Venmo account, then it will pull from that first when you pay someone).
- Square Cash: It’s basically the same as Venmo but a different app. Some people prefer Square Cash to Venmo, so it’s good to have both apps so you can connect with all of your friends.
- Keelo: We’re all busy, which means it can be difficult to find time to work out. Keelo creates completely custom workouts that are perfect you (no matter what the skilltype), and they’re all under 20 minutes!
- Cozi Family Organizer: This app will let you store everyone’s activities and appointments in one place, create and share shopping lists and chores in real time, store recipes and add ingredients to your shopping list, and more! It’s the perfect app for busy families – keeping everyone on the same page.
- SERVPRO Ready Plan: Whether you’re an owner or a property manager (commercial or residential), the SERVPRO Ready Plan app allows for the creation of an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your home or business. The ERP helps you to prepare for the worst and compiles a list of all your emergency contacts for your home or business. You can also add your favorite local SERVPRO Franchise (SERVPRO of Tustin) so that you can call us with just the push of a button.
It’s hard getting through these Southern California Summers without any air conditioning. Luckily for us, generations before us had to suffer through the heat before air conditioning was even invented and left us with some tried and true methods for staying cool all summer long!
- Turn off electronics when not in use. When electronics are turned on, they are producing heat. If you have electronics that you don’t use very often plugged in or turned on, keep them unplugged and/or turned off to keep them producing even more heat in your home. You can save some money on your electricity bill too!
- Place a bowl of ice in front of your fan. While it’s important to remember that fans cool people, not rooms, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good to have a fan blowing cool air on you. If you’re really desperate to cool down, place a bowl of ice in front of the fan to make the air even cooler.
- Switch to sheets that’ll keep you cool. Lightweight cotton and linen sheets are perfect for hot summers. They’re breathable fabrics, perfect for promoting ventilation and airflow in your bedroom.
- Freeze your sheets. If that’s still not enough to keep you cool during those hot summer nights, try sticking your sheets in the freezer. A few minutes before you get ready for bed, put your sheets in a plastic bag and put them in the fridge or freezer. This obviously won’t last all night, but it could be enough to keep you cool while you fall asleep.
- Avoid the stove and the oven. Summer is the perfect time to explore more room temperature meals (like a salad). Cooking with heat when it’s already hot out and there’a no AC Unit to cool you down can turn your home into a life-size oven! If you get the itch to bake, try some no-bake cookies and ice box cake recipes!
- Hang a wet sheet in front of the window. Grab an extra bed sheet and mist it. Then hang it in front of an open window. When a breeze or gust of wind comes through, it will create a cooling effect on your home.
- You can also cover your windows to keep the hot sun out. California sun is strong, so sometimes it’s best to keep the blinds or curtains drawn in the afternoons when the sun is strongest. If you still want to take advantage of natural lighting, try shutters or blinds that can block some of the light while still letting some through.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs. Not only are they costing you more on your energy bill, they’re making your home hotter. Make the switch to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs.
- Spend time outside. Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities. Even if it’s hot out, it may feel nicer to be outside than in a stuffy home that has no AC. Outdoor activities on or near the beach can be a good way to cool down a bit and enjoy the ocean breeze!
With so many shared walls and spaces, water damage in an apartment community can get messy pretty quickly. Of course you can never know when an emergency situation will occur, but it’s in your best interest as a property manager, as well as in the best interest of your residents, to always be ahead of the game. Take these measures today to prevent water damage tomorrow.
- Check On Aging Appliances Regularly – If the property you manage includes a fridge, dishwasher, and/or washer/dryer in unit, you should closely monitor the age of the appliances as well as routinely checking them for cracked or damaged hoses or connections. Washer hoses should be replaced about every five years. It’s a good idea to replace washers and dryers before there’s a problem. It may cost more money now, but it could save you a lot of money and a headache or two in the future.
- Repair Old or Damaged Roofs When It’s Dry – Don’t wait for a big rain storm to find out that the roofing at your unit(s) needs replacing. Make routine checkups to monitor the condition of the roof(s) at your property. Make time and room in the budget to make any replacements or upgrades necessary during the dry season so that you can avoid water damage in the wet season.
- Stay in Touch with Your Residents and Know When they’re Traveling – Many people go on vacations during the summer. Talk to your residents about having their water shut off while they’re gone or, alternatively, having someone check on their apartment from time to time while they’re gone. If a water leak occurs while they’re away and no one is checking in, a small problem could potentially turn into something much worse.
- Clear Downspouts Consistently – This is especially important if there are a lot of large trees throughout your apartment community. When leaves, branches, and other debris clog the gutters, the risk of flooding is increased. Clear all debris from the gutters frequently. If you know a storm is about to hit, make sure everything is clear and that water is being effectively carried away from the building.
- Apply Dry-Proofing Methods – One cost effective way to prevent large scale water damage in low-lying areas is to apply waterproofing coatings and sealings. You can also elevate electrical equipment at least three feet off of the floor and install waterproof structures around circuits and electrical breakers.
- Check For HVAC System Blockages – If the line that moves condensation from the HVAC system is backed up, it can create serious water damage. Backed up water can seep through ceilings and through light fixtures or in between walls. When water leaks between walls, it can go undetected and result in mold damage in addition to water damage.
Of course, in the unfortunate event that water damage does affect your community, call SERVPRO of Tustin for fast response and services.