The newsLINK Group - Preventing Kitchen Fires in Apartments

Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Fires in Apartments Title: Preventing Kitchen Fires in Apartments Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: U.S. Fire Departments estimate they dealt with approximately 1.24 million fires in 2013. Those first killed 3,240 people, injured 15,925, and caused property damage at a cost about $11.5 billion. Editorial: Preventing Kitchen Fires in Apartments 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Managing a multifamily housing development can mean confronting new challenges every day—some of which are entirely out of your control. Extreme weather events and other unpredictable disasters have affected nearly every region of the country in the past year, leaving owners and managers of apartment buildings scrambling to recover. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent the next “Act of God,” or super storm or wildfire. But you can significantly reduce your risk of loss from a host of other disasters by adopting a handful of insurance industry best practices—saving yourself time and energy, not to mention stress and money, in the process: 1. Adopt a Smoke-Free Policy According to the most recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home and apartment fires started by smoking cause an estimated $516 million in direct property damage per year and kill more people than any other type of fire. Apartment owners and managers can significantly reduce their exposure to smoking–related fires by adopting smoke-free policies in their buildings and on their property Adopting a smoke-free policy within a multifamily housing development you own or manage is well within your legal rights, and, indeed, it is part of a trend that is gaining momentum in communities around the country. Because they recognize that smoke-free policies significantly reduce the risk of fire, some insurance companies have even begun offering premium reductions to apartment owners who adopt them. Capital Insurance Group (CIG), for example, offers a 10 percent premium credit to apartment building owners and condominium associations who maintain a smoke-free environment in their buildings and units. Smoke-free policies present additional benefits for apartment owners, including greater peace of mind, faster and cheaper rehabbing of units, and increased marketing advantages as more residents seek smoke-free environments. 2. Guard Against Stovetop Fires Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires, and cooking fires account for the majority (44 percent) of all home and apartment fires, according to the NFPA. In 2011, cooking fires accounted for 156,300 home and apartment fires, resulting in 470 deaths, 5,390 injuries and $1 billion in direct property damage. The good news: Special fire suppression technology is now available that extinguishes stovetop fires before they have a chance to spread. Small, easy-to-install canister devices mount under the vent hood, microwave hood, or cabinetry above a stovetop. These fire suppression devices have proven so successful that communities in states around the country have enacted ordinances mandating their installation and use in multifamily dwellings. Owners and managers of multifamily housing who install stovetop fire suppression products report as much as a 99 percent reduction in average fire claim costs. A few insurance companies are offering a premium credit to apartment owners who install stovetop fire-prevention devices in each of their units. In addition to receiving a premium credit, some insurance companies are also partnering with fire suppression technology providers to extend product discounts to apartment owners who install these types of safety devices. This collaboration between insurance carriers and manufacturers of fire suppression technology helps apartment owners lessen the risk of stovetop fires and realize significant cost savings as well. 3. Reduce Flood Risk Water damage due to a malfunctioning appliance can cause tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to a rental property. Fortunately, there are flood-prevention devices that can detect leaks and automatically shut off the water supply. These types of devices are available for any appliance with a water-supply-line connection, including water heaters, washing machines, toilets, dishwashers, etc.