As a building owner or manager, the holidays are a time to spruce up your building with decorations and host fun events. This always reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas, when Snoopy decorates his doghouse. That pooch is a talented actor! Of course, you will want your tenants to enjoy themselves at holiday get-togethers. However, you will also be wise to keep an eye on safety. Since we are committed to helping property managers and owners BE SAFE, we would like to devote this blog post to offering several key tips to help you manage holiday mail and deliveries, food, parties and decorations!
Mail and Deliveries:
- As the volume of parcels increases, it becomes more likely the mailroom staff might miss suspicious packages. Do a refresher course with these individuals regarding how to spot mail that looks out of place. For tips about what to tell employees, check out the resources available through the Department of Homeland Security. Or you can always call in your trusty canine. Our noses are made for safety inspections.
- With more deliveries in and out of your building, your security staff could become lax in the enforcement of proper protocols. If all deliveries need to be screened at a central location, don’t make exceptions for people who are “just” bringing flowers or honey-baked hams or pork chops. Terrorism or the actions of disgruntled individuals are always possible. So every situation demands vigilance.
- Practice good hygiene when handling group lunches. Don’t allow employees to eat food such as lunch meats and cheese that has been sitting out for hours. In fact, better to just give all of that food to the dog…just to be safe. Observe the two-hour rule and move food quickly to a refrigerator or throw it away. A tenant’s business could become crippled if half of the employees get food poisoning.
- If tenants are preparing food on site, be sure they follow safe food-handling rules such as avoiding cutting board cross-contamination and making sure they frequently wash their hands.
- Carefully inspect food-based deliveries such as chocolate-covered fruit or cakes. Be sure that packages arrive from reputable vendors and provide identification and that delivery personnel arrived in clearly marked vehicles. And I’m not talking about the kind of marking that Fido or Rover provide.
- If you are serving alcohol at your holiday party, be sure the amounts are strictly limited in order to prevent individuals from acting inappropriately or attempting to drive. Provide shuttle buses or cab drivers to ensure everyone arrives home safely and you and your tenants avoid potential legal problems.
- Be sure your party venue is coded to accommodate attendees and has clearly identified emergency exits. (This should be true not just for parties but at all times.)
- Consider giving safety-oriented gifts such as arm rests for heavy computer users or a quality flashlight for employees. Then again, I think the best gift idea is a giant bone. It’s what I’m giving my wife and JR.
- Advise tenants who want to hang strings of lights to use a power strip and to keep warm lights away from paper sources. Extension cords must be completely taped to the ground to avoid tripping-related incidents. Forbid the use of candles or lanterns at all times.
- Turn off decorations at night.
- Decorations such as mistletoe and holly berries can be poisonous to pets or children. Encourage the use of man-made decorations in these cases, instead. Vote “no” on operation Holly Berry. When it comes to decorations, plastic can be a dog’s best friend.
- Instruct tenants not to place large decorations in stairwells or on emergency exit signs. They should also make sure they leave sprinklers and smoke alarms uncovered, so as not to interfere with operation.
- Live Christmas trees need water so they don’t become dried out and pose fire hazards.
All of our safety tips are intended to increase holiday cheer! It’s important to embrace the holidays and let your tenants, visitors and employees have fun—as long every individual and puppy, as well as your property, remain intact.
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.