A fire in your property will cost you financially and may have tragic consequences for your residents and tenants. While fires can sometimes happen because of circumstances no one can foresee, there are some common causes that are easily avoided. When you’re doing your regular property inspections, here is what to be on the lookout for.

Cooking equipment and practices

Grease fires can spread incredibly quickly, so take a look at your tenant’s cooking equipment to make sure it’s in good shape. If you happen to notice your tenants practicing unsafe cooking habits, such as walking away from a stove while something is cooking, casually bring those dangerous behaviors to their attention.

Use of candles

Candles cause house fires more often than you may think because it’s easy to forget one has been lit. If your tenant has candles, they should be in an open area that is free of anything flammable, and they should not be allowed to burn unattended.

Faulty wiring in the property

Like many other things, wiring ages and can wear out. Perform an electrical maintenance and safety inspection at least once each year so you can identify any problems before they spark a flame.

Holiday decorating disasters

Lit holiday decorations can be a fire waiting to happen. If your tenants have real trees, they should be well watered to prevent dry pine needles from falling and surrounding a lit tree like kindling. With outdoor holiday lights, make sure the manufacturer’s recommendations for outlets and maximum connection amounts are being followed.

Improperly stored flammable liquids

Flammable liquids, such as gasoline, lighter fluid and paints, should be stored in a cool, dry place that is away from heat sources. If your tenant has children, you may want to install some sort of locked cabinet in the storage area for flammable liquids so the children can’t access them.

Heating system failures

Check your tenant’s heating and cooling systems at the start of their respective seasons for signs of any problems. If you allow portable heaters in your property, you’ll want to check those, too. Faulty space heaters and similar devices can spark a fire, especially if they are old and not properly maintained. Any heating units should be kept away from flammable liquids and other hazards.

These simple steps can help prevent a devastating fire from breaking out in your property. Always make sure that you test fire alarms regularly, too, because you never know when a fire will start.