Oh, the holidays are a magical time of year, especially in Vermont. “Where the treetops glisten” perfectly describes the winter weather in Burlington – sometimes. In between the gatherings and celebrations, it’s important to remember how to keep you, your pets, your belongings and your apartment safe during the season.
Many are common sense, but bear repeating as we become preoccupied with parties and get-togethers, preparing food, buying gifts and packing to travel during the holidays.
Festive Safety Tips
December is the deadliest month for electrical fires. Here are some important reminders to avoid electrical mishaps:
- Before you string lights on your tree, inspect the strands to make sure there aren’t any frayed cords or cracked bulbs.
- Don’t use indoor lights outside and vice versa. Check the tag on the string of lights to be sure.
- Don’t leave candles unattended or put stockings near a heat source.
- Unplug your Christmas tree during sleeping hours and when you are not home.
- Opt for battery-operated candles in your windows. These types of candles do not typically pose a fire hazard.
Although knowing what to do in the event of a fire is something that you should know at any time of the year, the holiday season is a big time of the year for cooking and baking. Don’t use water to extinguish a grease fire — instead, smother the fire with baking soda or flour. Management provides fire extinguishers in each unit and our staff ensures that all fire extinguishers are in good working order each year! Make sure you know exactly where your extinguisher is.
Post Festivities Clean Up
If you choose to have a natural holiday tree, please be sure to care for it properly and water it daily. After the holidays, your property manager will provide instructions on how to remove the tree from the building and where to place it. Our maintenance team will remove the trees on the date specified in the instructions and dispose of properly. We are happy to provide this service to our residents each year.
Finally, dispose of large boxes by breaking them down before placing them in the recycle bin. Trash surrounding the bins can be hazardous and the trash collectors will not remove it. Please be considerate as your neighbors will also have boxes to dispose of especially during the holidays. Breaking them down allows for more room and avoids unnecessary charges to your account for removal by management.
Security and Safety for You
In an apartment building, it’s cordial to hold a door open for someone behind you, especially in cold weather. But for security reasons, don’t hold the door or buzz anyone in unless you are 100% sure they are also a resident of your building. Always err on the site of caution to avoid strangers in hallways or unwanted guests for neighbors.
Tips to Avoid Theft
- Remember to always lock your door.
- If you have mail or a package being delivered while you’re away during the holidays, have it put on hold, or ask a neighbor to sign for it to decrease risk of theft or loss.
- Keep valuables hidden from plain sight in your vehicle. Gift can entice someone to break into your car, relieving you of your belongings and possibly breaking your car window.
Also, as you probably know from experience, shopping mall and grocery parking lots can be very busy during the holidays. Be extra careful when walking or driving and use extra caution when pulling out of a parking space – a lot of people are thinking of what their next errand will be and don’t completely have their mind on their surroundings. A fender-bender during the holidays can put unnecessary stress in your life and/or a financial strain on the holidays and, of course, getting hurt takes the fun out of any occasion.
Keep Your Pet Safe and Healthy
Decorations can turn an apartment into a winter wonderland, but it’s important to keep our furry friends safe, too.
- Plants can spruce up your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous out of reach of children and pets. This includes mistletoe berries, holly berry and Jerusalem cherry, but there are many plants that are also toxic for cats and dogs.
- Make sure that your Christmas tree is super-stable, so that in a moment of excitement, your pet doesn’t knock it over – the same is true for candles.
- Your cat doesn’t know that tinsel on a tree isn’t a fun new play thing that might ultimately be ingested, so try to avoid loss or unfastened stringy decorations.
- Your dog doesn’t know that chocolate (or anything sweetened with xylitol) isn’t good for him/her – it can just look like a yummy snack within reach, so pay attention to what’s out on your counter.
- Check out the org or petmd.com websites (or google holiday safety tips for pets) for more tips on keeping your pet safe during the holidays.
A Special Note from Your Property Manager
If you decide to stay, please remember that, even if the building is really quiet, you are probably not alone.
- Please be respectful of your neighbors if having visitors.
- Keep your pets on their leashes at all times in the buildings, parking lots, etc.
- If you or your guests are smokers, please remember that there is no smoking within 50 feet of the building and any amenity (this includes the dog park).
Most of all, remember to have a happy and safe holiday season.
Appreciate your friends, co-workers and family with a smile and a kind word. If you’ve celebrated a bit too much, please don’t drive – call a friend or Uber or, on New Year’s Eve, look into free ride home programs in your area.
In Burlington, VT (and various cities in upstate NY) you can call 1.800.529.1010 for Martin, Harding and Mazzoti’s free Holiday Cab Ride Home program for a ride to your home or, in Bennington County (VT), call the Sheriff’s Office or Bennington Taxi at 802-442-9052 for a free ride home.
Taking a few minutes to do some research before you go out on New Year’s Eve – wherever your holiday plans may take you – could help you avoid making a decision with long-lasting consequences. Find the contact information for any of the various free ride home programs before you go out and put the number into your cellphone.