Fire and Electrical Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility

Every year in Australian dwellings, people die in fire and electrical accidents that could have been prevented. All states have regulations designed to reduce the incidence of these tragedies, but often, human behaviour is to blame. In most cases, simple precautions and complying with the law would significantly reduce these incidents.

Property Managers Have a Role to Play in Fire and Electrical Safety

As property management agents, we take the safety of our tenants seriously. We also want to prevent any property damage to our rental dwellings. When you rent a property through Ray White Bunbury, or appoint us as managing agents, you can be assured that inspections are up to date, and property repairs and maintenance reported and acted upon.

Fire Safety Information for Your Protection

To increase fire safety, we like to make our tenants aware of some important steps they can take to protect themselves and their families. Of course, this information applies equally to all of us.

  • Never leave fire sources unattended, for example, food cooking, heaters, candles or open fires.
  • Overloaded power boards can cause fires.
  • Do not smoke indoors and especially not in bed – extinguish ash and butts.
  • Keep clothing away from heaters in winter.
  • Do not use damaged electrical appliances – replace them.
  • Clothes dryers can catch fire if the lint filters are not cleaned after each use.
  • Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Know how to use a fire extinguisher and fire blanket.

These are all behaviours that we as individuals can make habitual.

The Value of Working Smoke Alarms

Many house fires start during the night while the occupants are asleep. Smoke alarms alert everyone to the presence of a fire, giving them time to escape. Every dwelling must have smoke alarms installed and the battery operated ones must be checked regularly to ensure they are working.

Don’t Underestimate Electricity – It is Unforgiving

Electrical safety can also be improved by awareness and good safety habits, but the absolute, not-negotiable requirement is that only licensed electricians should perform electrical work, however minor.

Again, as home occupants, we all have a responsibility to be aware of our behaviour and use electricity wisely. Some of these behaviours include:

  • Keeping electrical appliances, cords and extension leads away from water. Make sure they are in good condition. Worn or frayed cords should not be used and only be repaired by an electrician.
  • Placing childproof plugs in electrical outlets within the reach of young children.
  • Every three months, checking that all socket and lighting circuits protected by safety switches are operational. Tenants should notify their property manager immediately if they are not.
  • Avoiding the use of double-adaptors in one-plug outlets, and only using power boards with built-in safety devices.

Legislation can only solve some of the problems associated with fire and electrical safety. These safe behaviours are not just for our tenants at Ray White Bunbury, but for everyone.

Fire Alarms in Rental Properties

Whether you are a tenant or a property owner we all agree that the safety of the people residing in a home is of paramount importance.

Looking after the maintenance of the home is divided between the property owner and the tenant.

A Joint Effort

In relation to the smoke alarm it is also a joint effort.

Depending on the type of alarm installed the law decides who shall maintain it. A property owner shall ensure there is a fully functioning battery in the alarm at the commencement of the tenancy and, as previously mentioned, due to the type of alarm, it may be an ongoing maintenance job.

The placement of these alarms is of great importance. They must be between the most likely area a fire would start – the kitchen – and each bedroom, living area, hallway and the nearest escape route.

They should not be mounted near air conditioners, fans, heaters, or similar devices as they may impede the correct function of the alarm.

Likewise, if they are mounted too close to the kitchen or bathroom you may experience “false alarms”. The steam or heat generated from these two areas may set the alarm off needlessly and continuously. Situations such as these have lead to the frustrated removal of the battery, causing death and injury when the occupiers of a home on fire were not woken by the alarm.

Keeping the alarm clear of dust, webs, cooking grease, et cetera, is also important as a build-up of this could be responsible for the alarm going off when unneeded, or worse, not working properly when they are needed. This is why the tenant agrees to the cleaning and possible battery changing during occupancy until the completion of said tenancy.

Here at Ray White Bunbury we offer efficient property management. Our experienced, friendly staff members understand and appreciate not only the law but the sensitivities and requirements of property owners and tenants alike.

A question or situation does not exist where we have not been able to rise to the challenge of answering or resolving it.

As a property owner, if you get good returns then ultimately so do we. We offer and deliver top quality tenants, low vacancy rates and the best possible return on your investments.

To show you we mean business we offer:

• Free rentals appraisal;

• 30 days free management fees; and

• 60 days free building and landlord protection insurance.

The Importance of Fire Safety Plans

We’ve all heard heart-wrenching stories of families whose homes have been destroyed by fire, and perhaps lost loved ones as a result. Hearing news such as this can make us think about what we would do if faced with a similar situation. Although we may all hope that it will never happen to us or our loved ones, taking a few steps and having a fire evacuation plan in place is a good idea, that can give everyone peace of mind and give all the family a chance at the best possible outcome should you find yourself faced by a fire in your home.

It is especially important when living in a rental Bunbury property to not only have a plan that all the family is familiar with, but to revisit and review those plans regularly. Often families who rent find themselves moving house more often that home owners, so it is extremely important to consider how the plan may change from home to home. Entry and exit points will naturally all be different and as will the designated safe meeting place outside the home. How would your family react if faced with a fire?? Having a plan in place can lessen this worry for you.

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Family Practice Drills

Take time to hold a family meeting. Have a floor plan or sketch of the home you are living in and be sure to mark all the entry/exit points. Mark on the plan the routes that would be taken to safely exit the house, taking into consideration where the fire is located. Once this is done it is a good idea to have a few role plays and practice drills to ensure that the plans are reinforced in everyone’s memory. Have a copy of your fire evacuation plan displayed in various places around your home and have all the evacuation routes clearly marked.

Practicing your fire evacuation plan regularly can give you peace of mind knowing that your beloved family all know what to do in the event of a fire. Tell the kids that you will be calling a practice fire drill over the next few days and then give the signal when they are least expecting it. Time them and try and improve that time each drill. This can make it fun and be preparing the family for the real thing at the same time. If you never ever have to use it, well that is the best you can hope for. But when it comes to fire safety in the home it is always best to be prepared!

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Rental Property Locks And Keys

When it comes to rental properties, there needs to be a clear understanding of who is responsible for certain things. If both the tenant and the property owner are aware of these and follow them through, the process of renting should run smoothly for both parties. Anyone would agree that locks and keys are a very important fixture on a rental property. They keep the tenants belongings inside safe from destruction or theft and the owners investment property is protected in some ways also. So naturally it would be important to be familiar with the process of fixing these should they become damaged or faulty.

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Agreement Between Parties

There needs to be a good communication between the property management agent who is overseeing the rental of the property, the owner and the tenant. Where locks need to be changed then the change needs to be agreed upon by all parties. Where exemptions may be made is if there is urgent need to change the locks without waiting for approval. When locks are changed then all parties who require one must be given a key for the new lock. This, however, might not always be the case if one party agrees not to be given a key. When there is a risk of safety involved then the changing of locks should be taken seriously and acted upon as quickly as possible.

Replacement for Broken Locks and Keys

If a lock is broken due to negligence on the tenants’ part, for example, if the tenant needs to bust the lock open to get inside the property, then the tenant is responsible for paying. If the lock breaks due to age then the owner will be liable to pay for a replacement lock. If the lock is still intact but keys need to be replaced then someone needs to pay for this. If they are lost or damaged through fault of the tenant then the tenant will be required to replace the keys and cover the costs. If keys are old and worn and break due to wear and tear then the owner needs to cover the cost of replacing them.

If you have any queries regarding locks and keys in rentals, talk to your property managers. Keeping valuables under lock and key is essential and repairs should be done quickly.

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Cover Yourself, Your Home, Your Contents

No one wants to think about the fact that fire, theft and floods can happen but the reality is, it does happen and we all need protection against it. At Ray White Property Management Bunbury we do our best at all times for our clients to protect them from rental mishaps but not everything is in our control.

We can ensure that tenants pay rent on time, that homes are taken care of and that repairs are carried out when needed. We can guarantee a pleasant experience every time when it comes to property management, but when it comes to cover and insurance, that’s up to you.

If you have invested in the perfect real estate or are renting a property there can be nothing so heartbreaking as to lose your investment or belongings. This pain can only be increased if you are not insured and are unable to have repairs done or items replaced.

There are many different companies offering various levels of cover. Naturally, the investor needs to have the structure of the home insured and should consider landlord insurance too. Renters, on the other hand, need to take a careful look around and value their belongings accurately to understand the cost of replacement.

Know Your Needs and Options

There are so many insurance providers out there you would be forgiven for feeling a little daunted. The best steps you should take in finding the top insurance cover specifically for your needs is to know your needs and your options.

Before you contact anyone for a quote, have a clear idea and make an accurate list of what you want to insure, as well as its value. Have a good think about what you want insured.

Decide if you want to include motor burnout for fridges and washing machines and if you need flood cover. Discuss with the insurer when you get a quote if you can increase the excess to pay a lower premium but make the decision carefully. In the unfortunate event you need to make a claim you don’t want to be ruined by needing to pay hefty excess.

If you feel the need to learn more about your neighbourhood in relation to flooding, etc, or need to know more about the structure of the home you are renting, contact us at Ray White Property Management Bunbury by phone or online  and we will do our best to assist with your enquiries.

Be Safe and Take Precautions this Bush Fire Season

Every year bush fires threaten property and lives all around Australia. Over the past few years, we have had some horrific bush fires that have swept through the southern half of Australia, claiming so many lives both human and animal. In order to minimise the possibility of a fire claiming any more lives, it is necessary to follow the safety guidelines and take the necessary steps to fireproof our homes before the bush fire season gets into full swing. If everybody followed the same pattern every year then this would help to minimise the threat that bush fires pose on us.

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List of Things You Can Do

There is quite a lot you can do to prepare your home and surrounding area for the bush fire season. You can obtain a list of things you can do from your local fire department or if you are renting, you should be able to get a list from your real estate professional. One of the first steps you should take in fireproofing your home is to clean out your gutters, roofs and down pipes regularly and keep them free of any leaf matter or debris that could be flammable.

Keep Sparks Out From Your Home

In order to protect from sparks entering through roof voids, you should screen these with fine metal wire mesh. Any gas cylinders around your home should be fitted with pressure relief valves and be faced outwards so they are not directed towards the house. Any woodpiles should be well away from the house. This makes sure there are no flammable materials that could endanger the house.

Clean Up Your Yard

Make sure your yard is clean, any leaves, twigs or cuttings raked up, overhanging branches are cut back and kept well away from the house, depositing these at the dump as soon as possible. Never deposit your cuttings, leaves or grass clippings behind your property or on council reserves, this increases the fire danger. Make sure your garden hoses are long enough to reach all of your boundaries in order to wet down those areas if necessary and that they are in good condition and in working order.

Know Where the Fire Hydrants Are

You should check to see where all the fire hydrants are near your home and make sure they are not obstructed in order for easier access by the fire department. You should ask your agent where the location of these fire hydrants is, if they are unable to tell you then contact your local fire department for more information.

Other Precautions

In event of a fire, you should ensure the whereabouts of your family members and make sure that you observe all the safety precautions. In event of an evacuation, follow the most direct route away from the fire to the nearest emergency centre. If you spot a fire then call 000 immediately to report it. Stay safe this bush fire season!

We want to Manage Your Property! Contact us today on (08) 9780 0700 or
click here to see our exclusive offer