By: Sharrod Parker, Risk Control Leader
Summer is behind us, and fall is finally upon us! We may have a few surprise warm days here and there, but the season’s crisp temperatures and colorful leaves will soon arrive and signal that winter is fast approaching. Please take this time to get your property in gear by completing these essential fall tasks. These tips can be shared with residents as well.
- Leaves and other debris can quickly accumulate, preventing proper drainage, and possibly leading to even bigger headaches when winter finally arrives. Remove any visible buildup. Then, flush the gutter with a garden hose or bucket of water and check the flow. Clearing all gutters now will prevent overflow later, giving you one less potential problem to worry about during the cold months.
- Turn off outside faucets and in-ground irrigation systems to prevent freezing and bursting when the temperature dips. Close any shut-off valves and open outside faucets to drain the lines completely. Drain any lingering water and put away garden hoses and sprinklers to prevent them from being harmed by the harsh winter weather.
- Checking batteries in fire detectors is a good idea. It’s recommended that you test smoke detectors once a month and replace batteries every six months for best performance. Add this task to your property’s fall and spring checklist to keep your resident’s safe.
- It’s a good time to verify that all fire extinguishers are inspected and in proper order. Make sure they’re accessible and in working order and review their proper use.
- Is your maintenance shop, shed and garage in good order? It’s best to check that these areas are clutter free and organized before anyone must respond to an emergency in bad weather.
- Spend some time trimming branches to keep trees healthy. If you prune while the tree still has leaves, you’ll be able to easily determine which branches are dead or dying and need to be removed, and which should be left alone.
- Perform inspections and any maintenance need on all HVAC systems. Clean and replace filters in heating systems. If applicable, pull A/C units out of windows and store them. Also, if applicable, address and clean the chimney. Hire a professional if needed to prevent smoke and fire.
- Paying careful attention to slope, check the walkways, common areas, parking lot and driveways where residents may travel. In rainy, cold and snowy weather these are areas where water freezes. Slip and fall incidents increases in the winter months. Repair any area that appears sunken in or full or ridges. Ridges are a tripping hazard that can be masked by leaves, ice and snow.