Make a Bigger Statement in the Kitchen: Stylish Hoods

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine That spot over the stove is prime real estate in the kitchen these days. Lately that space is being reserved for a decorative hood, which is becoming almost like a centerpiece of the kitchen. Stainless steel hoods have been all the rage in recent years. But brass hoods and […]

Hot Home Trend to Watch: The Two-Toned Kitchen

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Two-toned colored kitchens are gaining popularity this year. White and gray painted cabinets are dominating kitchen color schemes, according to the 2017 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends survey conducted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Photo by Rebecca Hay Designs – Look for kitchen pictures Particularly gray-toned kitchen […]

5 Kitchen Design Trends to Take From Model Homes

The model homes of builders are known for showcasing the latest interior design trends in trying to appeal to home shoppers. So what’s trending when it comes to the kitchen? PulteGroup’s Interior Designs Team is merchandising about 425 model homes in 2016. The kitchen is a big area that gets a lot of the design […]

Top Kitchen Design Trends for 2016

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Transitional, traditional, and contemporary styles remain the most popular in kitchen design but two new kitchen styles are popping up: industrial and farmhouse, according to the 2016 Design Trends Survey from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Neutral colors remain the dominate color scheme, with whites/off-whites, grays and beiges/bones […]

Neutralize Fires This Winter Before They Occur

‘Tis the season. Not just for holiday cheer and giving, but also for cooking fires at holiday parties, exposed candles, fireplace sparks, space heaters near flammable drapes, and Christmas lights overloading extension cords.

How to prevent house fires from devastating your homeowner or condo association this winterThere were about 98,000 reported apartment fires in 2013, which killed at least 325 people that year and injured about 3,900 more, according to data from the National Fire Prevention Association.

Heaters and fireplaces are responsible for about 27 percent of residential fires. That means that winter is a critical time when it comes to fire prevention outreach and education. Peak heating fire season runs from December through February.

The National Fire Prevention Association estimates that about 900 fires every year are attributable specifically to Christmas decorations, menorahs and other holiday items catching fire.

So what can your homeowner or condo association can do to neutralize the fire threat before it occurs? Here are some tips:

Get a Courtesy Inspection

Contact your local fire department or fire marshal. They will generally come to your property for free or for a minimal fee and walk you through common areas, facilities, storage areas and other critical locations to help you spot potential hazards. This could include electrical and wiring problems, hazardous material storage, and landscaping or trash management problems that might contribute to a spreading fire. They will also spot access problems that could prevent evacuation or keep firefighters from reaching a fire on the property.

Generally, you won’t get fined for code violations or other issues discovered during a courtesy inspection that you request, provided you correct them within a reasonable time.

Send and Post Newsletters

You can create newsletters for your residents and mail them, slip them under the door, or post them on bulletin boards in common areas. The National Fire Prevention Association also has a number of fliers and posters available for download. Topics include:

  • Cooking safety
  • Candle safety
  • Heating
  • Smoking
  • Electrical safety
  • Dryers
  • Microwaves
  • Wood and pellet stoves
  • Fireworks
  • Grilling and cookouts

Put fire prevention in the hands of a professional – start working with a professional association manager today >>

Have a Community Meeting

As you can see from the list above, there is no shortage of topics you could cover at a community fire-awareness workshop. Be prepared to buy some pizzas for residents or hold a drawing – you want to maximize attendance at an event like this. If your turnout is good, your community will be more aware of fire safety issues, and more likely to protect your property. Your property management and janitorial staff can’t do everything by themselves, and they can’t do much about hazards in the dwellings themselves. You need your residents to do that.

Larger properties may be able to get a presence from their local fire department as well. You could even make a kid-friendly event out of it with a little imagination.

Other Fire Prevention Tips

  1. Service furnaces and HVAC units now.
  1. Take a good look at your laundry rooms. Lint buildup in hoses is a frequent potential hazard. Check for clothes piling up behind the dryers. And make sure your wiring can handle the appliances.
  1. Get residents to tell management any time a breaker in a property trips. Even if your community isn’t a condo or high-rise, if all the single-family homes are similar, they probably have similar wiring. Tripped breakers can alert others to potential wiring problems.
  1. Have your fire extinguishers inspected and charged. Put this task on your regular maintenance schedule.
  1. Ensure electric appliances are nowhere near pools and Jacuzzi areas.
  1. Insist renters carry renters insurance. A simple kitchen fire could cost more than a renter is able to cover out of his or her own financial resources.
  1. Clear parking lots, driveways and access areas of dumpsters, debris and parked cars. This ensures that fire trucks can access the back and sides of each building as necessary. Be vigilant in enforcing parking rules to facilitate this.
  1. Conduct drills. At a minimum, every staffer and community leader should be able to brief the fire plan, which includes demonstrating familiarity with electrical, water and gas shut-off points; elevator shut-off points; and fire hydrant locations in case they have to guide firefighters to them.
  1. Inspect all smoke detectors, sprinklers and carbon monoxide monitors. Be cognizant of access notification requirements before you enter dwellings.
  1. Tell residents to make sure their Christmas trees are fresh and green. Dry trees are much more flammable than green ones. Also, keep the trees away from radiators and space heaters. Set up a tree pickup service after the holidays. And for Hanukkah, keep drapes tied well away from any window menorahs.

In Kitchens, the Design May Trump Cooking

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Home owners continue to invest in their kitchens but cooking appears to be coming in secondary to the design of the space, according to the latest American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey which focused on kitchen and bath design trends. “The major point of emphasis in kitchen […]

The Contemporary Kitchen: 10 Top Trends for 2015

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine  Contemporary is the buzzword when it comes to kitchen designs this year, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Streamlined designs, eclectic touches, and multiples of appliances lead the trends, according to NKBA’s 2015 forecast. Here are the top 10 overall kitchen design trends expected to be hot […]

How to Update a Kitchen to Attract Buyers

By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating Kitchens are more important than ever when it comes to influencing buyers’ perceptions of a home as well as the perceived value. Some home owners make it a priority to invest in remodeling key rooms to increase the value of their home for when they […]