Celebrations hit their peak at the year’s close, as homeowners everywhere ring in the new year. To avoid injury and liability, though, there are some things homeowners associations must keep in mind. Here are the best New Year’s safety tips for communities.
The Best New Year’s Safety Tips for Homeowners Associations
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are two of the most popular holidays in the United States. This does not come as a surprise considering these holidays signal the start of a new chapter. It is a time for resolutions and turning over a new leaf.
For homeowners associations, the end of the year comes with increased risks. As a form of protection, here are the best New Year’s Eve safety tips in an HOA community.
1. Ensure Street Lights Work Fine
The winter season is typically when days are short and nights grow long. People spend more time in the dark during this time of the year. As such, it only makes sense for homeowners associations to check all lights.
Street lights, in particular, deserve a spot of their own. Street lights illuminate darkened roads and sidewalks, allowing residents to walk to their homes safely. In addition to street lights, lights in common areas and amenities must also be serviced. Make sure all the lights are working properly and turn on at the right time.
It is also worth investing in motion sensor lights. These lights automatically come on when it detects motion. This allows the association to brighten up spaces while still saving money on energy at the same time.
2. Maintain Landscaping
Landscaping can beautify any space, but it can also grow out of hand as time passes. Overgrown shrubs and bushes can be an eyesore, and trees with dead branches can invite injury.
As such, it is important for every homeowners association to pay attention to the landscaping. Trim overgrown shrubs and trees so that no limbs block windows or buildings. These spaces are also popular hiding spots for thieves and trespassers.
To add to the first point, unkempt landscaping can also pose a danger in the dark. Residents can trip over them and scrape themselves.
3. Distribute Important Contact Information
A lot of things can happen in the span of a single night. Homeowners associations should remain prepared by also arming their residents with the right contacts. An HOA should disseminate essential numbers to all residents, including contact details of the local police department and fire department. For gated communities, the number of HOA security guards should also be distributed.
Other than that, residents should also have someone inside the association to call. This can be someone on the HOA board or the property manager. But, for emergencies, HOAs should always encourage residents to call 911.
4. Be Cautious of Fireworks
Fireworks are a common point of contention in HOA communities. Residents typically want to light fireworks themselves as a way to celebrate, but things can go south real quick. Many homeowners associations impose a ban on fireworks that shoot up in the air, especially in areas with a high risk of wildfires. Instead, they allow ground-level fireworks, such as sparklers, that pose little to no threat.
Safety 101: What to Remind Residents
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day give people a chance to see and spend time with their loved ones. But, it is also a time for parties, vacations, and large gatherings. As with any event, there are risks involved. Fortunately, HOAs can minimize most of these risks by reminding homeowners of the following New Year’s safety tips.
5. Be Wary of Package Theft
Package theft is on the rise in the United States, as more and more people rely on online delivery services. Associations would do well to provide homeowners with tips on how to avoid these porch pirates.
One way is to schedule deliveries so that homeowners are actually home when their packages arrive. Either that or they can pick up their orders at a designated pick-up location instead.
Another way is to ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for deliveries. They can have a neighbor receive the package on their behalf and then hand it over at a later time or date. Homeowners can also deter package thieves by installing home security cameras.
6. Update Home Security Systems
Crime rates increase during the holiday season because many homeowners leave their homes unattended this time of the year — usually to attend parties or go on vacation. To ensure their homes are protected, homeowners should update their home security systems and install security cameras.
If a home security system is too expensive to afford, homeowners can easily curb burglaries by leaving a light on inside the house at night. There are lights owners can set on a timer. Another budget-friendly way to minimize burglaries is to leave a car parked in the driveway or have a neighbor park theirs in its place. This tells thieves that someone is home, discouraging them from entering.
7. Practice Fire Safety at Home
Home fires are more common during the holiday season. These are usually due to mishaps in the kitchen or with Christmas trees. Though, these fires can also be the result of fireworks.
If an HOA already has a ban on fireworks in place, it should remind residents not to violate this rule. Instead, homeowners should use safer avenues for entertainment. Alternatively, a homeowners association can organize a professional fireworks display at a common area, though this may require a permit from the local government.
8. Review Parking Rules
If residents are having guests over for a party, it pays to remind them of the association’s parking rules ahead of time. More parties mean increased vehicle traffic and a higher incidence of car accidents. To avoid having cars parked out on the curb, residents should have their guests park in designated spaces. They can also borrow their neighbors’ driveways, though they should get permission first.
9. Stay Alert
Finally, homeowners associations must advise residents to stay vigilant. Crimes can occur at any moment, often when they least expect it. As such, they should remain alert at all times. If something does happen, residents should act quickly and call 911 asap.
A Critical Time of the Year
As the height of celebrations culminates at the end of the year, homeowners associations and their members are more vulnerable to risks. As a way to combat these, it is imperative to adopt these New Year’s safety tips.
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