Know Your Residents Welfare Society Better- The Different People Who Make An Apartment Association

It is a well known fact that a residents welfare association is a necessary wing in every gated community. These apartment associations help in organizing all public events in an apartment and play an active role in maintaining the apartment’s infrastructure by giving out responsibilities for all its members, so that they do their share for maintaining the apartment as a haven for harmonious living.

You’ll need to know the lowdown on what goes on within the ranks in an apartment in order to fit yourself into the association, and find your true calling in the group.

Every member has to contribute effectively run an apartment’s Welfare Association

Every member has to contribute effectively run an apartment’s Welfare Association

The Roles

When an apartment association or resident welfare society is formed in an apartment complex, all apartment owners are termed as members and all tenants who are staying in the apartment on a rented basis are termed as associate members. All members together form the general body of the apartment association.

The top tier in an apartment complex is called as the Management Committee. This Management Committee comprises of a President, a Vice President, A Secretary, A Treasurer, and other office bearer members. Some of these roles have already been discussed earlier. People are voted into these respective positions by all members, excluding associate members.

The Management Committee in an apartment association serves as a section that deals with all legal issues and upholds human rights and other interests within the apartment. The Management Committee has its own fair share of duties in an apartment complex, a few of which have been discussed below.

Management Committee Duties

  • The Management Committee in an apartment association is responsible for organizing public amenities for all residents in the apartment (including gyms, parks, and roads).
  • The committee is also primarily responsible for organizing cultural activities during particular occasions like national holidays (flag hoisting and other group activities).
  • The committee is in charge of organizing recreational facilities for all residents too.
  • The Management Committee should defend the interests and rights of every single member in its ranks, especially in the face of legal issues and the like.
  • The committee will also be responsible for handling all documents related to the apartment complex, and it has to ensure the safety of these documents too. The licensure and permission given for the building’s construction also needs to be maintained well by the committee.
  • Maintaining financial records and bank accounts will also be the committee’s responsibility.
  • The committee also has to ensure that the amount of money collected from all residents for maintenance purposes is effectively spent on repairing and improving the infrastructure and should maintain records for the same.
  • The Management Committee should also conduct regular meetings including all members and discuss everyday issues and problems and doubts if any, which can be clarified during the course of these meetings.

All members of the apartment association should attend such organized meetings and should exercise their right to vote in the face of committee issues. They should also follow all guidelines stated by the Management Committee and in this way, contribute their part to the community, making the apartment complex a peaceful place to live and co-exist in!


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How to maintain swimming pool in your Apartment?

A swimming pool is an irresistible attraction in any residential apartment complex. It is the perfect way to exercise, unwind, and simply splash around with your kids for a fun, family evening. However, often, apartment associations neglect the maintenance of the swimming pool, making it an eye sore, as well as a health hazard.

To prevent potential health problems, here are some simple swimming pool maintenance tips.

  1. Maintain optimum pool chemistry

    A swimming pool must have a pH level of 7.2 – 7.6 for the water sanitizers, such as chlorine, to work well. Using a drop test kit to regularly measure the pH level of the swimming pool in your apartment can prevent the pH level from going too high or too low. To lower pH levels, Hydrochloric Acid is commonly used. There are other alternatives to maintain the pH level, such as granular acid or pH minus. The amount of total dissolved solids and the calcium hardness of the water in the swimming pool should be tested every six months.

  2. Use Chlorine to treat water

    Chlorine is the most commonly used pool sanitizer; however it has certain side effects such as red eyes and dry eyes. Floating chlorine feeders and automatic chlorine feeders are better ways of maintaining chlorine levels, as compared to simply putting chlorine sticks/chlorine tablets in the pool.

  3. Alternative treatment methods

    There are alternative means of water treatment which you can use to sanitize your apartment pool. Mineral purification systems, which pump the water through minerals like silver and copper, kill the algae and bacteria present in the water. Salt chlorinators are another great way to maintain the chlorine level of your pool. An electrode is attached to the plumbing system of the pool, which can convert the natural salt added, to chlorine.

  4. Looking for a agency to maintain swimming pool in your apartment complex?
    Check out Marketplace from ApnaComplex and request for quotations from multiple swimming pool maintenance agencies at the click of a button.

  5. Regular cleaning of the swimming pool

    Pools need to be cleaned every day. Leafs and other debris must be removed daily. The swimming pool pumps must be run daily for a couple of hours, so that the water in the pool remains fresh. In summers, the pump needs to be run for a longer time to filter the water adequately. The walls and bottom tiles of a pool need to be brushed frequently to prevent algae from growing on these surfaces.

  6. Keep the skimmers, and other pool machinery and equipment clean

    Pool skimmers, Leaf catchers, pumps and chlorine dispensers must be cleaned regularly. It is easy to ignore cleaning the skimmers, but if they get clogged, the circulation of water in the pool will be reduced, because of which the water in the swimming pool may become unsafe for swimmers.

  7. Checking the water level

    The water level of a pool should never go below the level of the pool skimmers, or the pool circulation mechanism will not work effectively. A good option is to install automatic water levelers to check the water level and fill the pool with water once the water level drops below a specific level.

  8. Pool hygiene rules

    The apartment association should have a set of common rules for all the pool users, such as taking showers before entering the pool and not throwing any food items in the pool. The swimming pool is the common property of all the apartment owners, and they should take care to ensure that it remains clean and hygienic.

  9. Safety measures

    It is equally important to maintain safe swimming pool practices, such as specific pool timings, adult supervision when children use the pool, basic first aid training to the pool users, and safety kit. The edges of the pool can become slippery and cause people to slip and get hurt. So, keeping the pool surroundings clean and safe is always recommended.

A well maintained swimming pool is an asset to an apartment complex. But improper care can turn into an eye sore.


ApnaComplex is an apartment managment software. We are offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively.

Is The Estate Manager Of Your Apartment Efficient? – Part 1

In a two part series, ApnaComplex examines the Estate Manager Efficiency, the profile and job responsibilities of an estate manager.

Definition And Outline Of Job Profile – Estate Manager For Apartments

An estate manager is a manager or a caretaker of a property or piece of land that is privately owned. Estate managers are similar to landlords and they perform many similar functions. Estate managers might be either permanent or short term caretakers of property and they are generally appointed by the owner of the land or his legally appointed representative, such as the apartment owners association in the case of apartments. Apartment managers are responsible for managing the everyday activities of apartment and this may vary from something as simple as collecting rent to settling disputes between residents amicably. Apartment managers are generally required to live inside the premises of the land they are responsible for, usually in separate living quarters. You can use this artcile to understand the profile of an estate manager, how to look for for an efficient estate manager and also evaluate if your current estate manager fits the bill.

Power Of Attorney, Responsible Management

The estate manager is responsible for representing the residents of the complex. The manager has to take up any complaints and redress them. The apartment manger speaks on behalf of the apartment to the police or any government body. S/he is also responsible for the overall management and smooth running of the day to day activities of the apartment.

Qualification Of An Apartment Manager

An apartment manager is required to have formal training and prior experience in managing an estate or piece of private property. Generally, managers are also obligated to have some knowledge of land laws and rules pertaining to tenants and settling of disputes. Some amount of qualification in accounting precepts and formal training in computers are also essential to be an efficient estate manager. Managers are also required to have a wide knowledge in management of general household duties. It is also important that apartment estate managers know the in depth functioning and mechanisms behind the working of machinery and equipments such as elevators, water pumps, sewage and storm water drains, generators, water tanks and piping. This is because the apartment estate manager is required to deal with a variety of vendors and individuals to repair, operate or maintain these equipments and basic knowledge will aid in speeding up any processes that involve these.

Duties Of An Apartment Manager:

Specific duties of estate managers may differ according to requirement, however some of the basic duties of an estate manager are as follows:

Ensuring proper security

Ensuring security in the premises and coordinating with police to ensure that they arrive on time in case of any emergency is an essential role of the apartment manager. Managers are also responsible for ensuring security personnel are hired from a trustworthy agency. The security personnel must be required to check every person that enters the complex and ensure that they are registered at the front desk.

Ensuring effective management of day to day errands

The manager has to ensure that the payment of bills, depositing credit instruments etc are done in an efficient manner. On a daily basis an apartment may have a huge volume of transactions and the manager has to keep a record of each transaction so that the residents or the association can inspect it if they wish to. All purchasing and selling has to be transparent. The manager is also responsible for coordinating with all government agencies such electricity department and public works department.

Inspecting the property

The manager has to inspect the apartment complex at least once a day and ensure that swimming pools, generators and public toilets are in good order. This is important considering it is the only way by which the manager and hence the association will have a clear idea as to how the apartment maintenance staff are performing. The manager also has an opportunity to step out of the office and interact with residents of the apartment and other executive staff to gain insights and feedback that he may not have earlier been in a position to receive.

Presentation and landscaping

Ensuring proper landscaping and making sure that the apartment is presentable is one of the most important duties of an apartment manager. The manager has to maintain the presentation of the apartment so that the value of the apartment complex does not reduce in the future. In order to do this he has to coordinate with the staff to ensure regular and efficient sweeping and cleaning of common areas. In case any painting work is required, the manager has to ensure this is done without any inconvenience to the residents.

Events

Organizing private parties and events that pertain to the estate and coordinating with the various associations in the apartment is also a part of the manager’s duties. The manager has to make sure that materials and the manpower required for these events are made available. An apartment is a community and the manager must bring together the apartment residents during festive and social events to ensure harmony in the complex and to foster the community spirit.

To be continued in part-2


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Roles, Duties And Responsibilities Of Members Of A Resident Welfare Association

A resident welfare association is necessary, as it can serve as a committee through which queries can be explained, and issues and problems solved. The presence of a committee or resident welfare association will also spice up interaction among residents and get them to contribute equally from their part. Such open social interaction will improve the joy of living in an apartment complex.

A resident welfare association, however, needs to be registered under the government for it to be recognized as a proper association. A registered resident welfare association will this way be able to enjoy many legal benefits. While forming a registered resident welfare association, make sure that you have more than seven members who are at least eighteen (or above) years of age. This is very important.

Every Individual Has A Role in an Apartment Association

Every Individual Has A Role in an Apartment Association

 

The primary objective of every resident welfare association would be to collect the common maintenance charges from every single resident in the apartment and use this in establishing good public infrastructure for the residents. An association will normally have to be formed under The Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act of 1972 or
The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960 (and appropriate act for states other than Karnataka).

Every resident welfare association will have a management committee, a president, a treasurer and a secretary, apart from the regular members. There are many common responsibilities that members of the association should take up among themselves, and some of these have been mentioned below (we will cover other roles in future blog posts):

The President’s Role:

  • The President will be given the authority to defend any form of legal action that is taken against the association, and will also be given the authority to sue people for legal purposes and reasons.
  • The President of a resident welfare association will have the final call in approving a contract that is brought by the committee and implementing the terms.
  • The President should maintain an overall view on the occurrences and ensure that all residents and members are satisfied without having any qualms or problems. The President should also oversee all expenses and make sure that they are put to good use.

The Treasurer’s Role:

  • The Treasurer in a resident welfare association will be given the task of maintaining all funds within the organization. The responsibility of maintaining the money safely along with all documents also rests solely with the Treasurer.
  • The Treasurer’s role is a demanding one and should be bestowed upon an experienced person with good management capabilities, as these documents and funds are very important for the association.
  • The Treasurer should also make note of the overall income and also calculate monthly and yearly expenditures. This way the flow of money will be constantly regulated for the benefit of the residents.

The Secretary’s Role:

  • The secretary in a resident welfare association will be given the responsibility of conducting various general body meetings.
  • The secretary will also be given the responsibility of compiling the minutes of the meeting and analyzing the overall information brought to the table.
  • The secretary will have to bring up concerns from each individual resident in order to ensure active participation of all members. 

These are the three major roles in any resident welfare association, and you’ll need to be aware of all such responsibilities involved, in order to contest for the spot yourself, or even in order to vote for the right person when the polls come up.

ApnaComplex supports the notion of committee members – administrators can tag members with different committee member roles and even give “permissions” to modules specific to thier roles. For example, a member can be tagged as a treasurer can be given access to only accounting modules. ApnaComplex is an apartment managment software. We are now offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively.


Diwali – A few Do’s and Don’ts for your Apartment Complex

It’s that time of the year again. The whole country reverberates to the joy of celebrations over a five-day period. There’s music, food, light and an air of prosperity all around! Yes, we’ll soon be celebrating Diwali, the festival of light that marks the victory of good over evil.

Celebrated with great joy and festivities in most parts of India, it is marked by the lighting of lamps, crackers, exchange of greetings and gifts, buying gold, decorating of home and sharing sweets with family and friends.

Diwali - Festival of Lights

Along with all the above, the festival of Diwali has also become associated with firecrackers that cause injuries and leave people with burns, loss of eyesight, damage to the ears and to property if adequate care is not taken. Every year, there is a significant number of burns and other injuries that are reported during the festival.

Download Posters you can use in your Complex

Do’s and Don’ts

It is therefore important that each one of us who is celebrating with firecrackers follow a few Dos and Don’ts to ensure that Diwali ends as a happy festival for one and all. If you are a member of the Managing Committee of your residential complex, make sure you list down your Dos and Don’ts so that every resident is aware of what they should and should not do to make it a festival that everyone enjoys.

We provide a list of Dos and Don’ts that you can use as it as is or as a guideline for your apartment complex. You can download the Diwali Do’s and Dont’s poster, print it and post it in your society notice board as is or under your official letterhead.

NEVER

ALWAYS

Buy fire crackers from street vendors. Buy fire crackers of a reputed brand from a well-known shop.
Carry or throw firecrackers for fun. Handle fire crackers carefully. Read instructions before lighting a firecracker.
Have flammable materials like wood, electrical cables, fuel, lighted lamps etc. around where you store or light fireworks. Store your fireworks in a safe area. Clear the area around before starting to light crackers.
Burst crackers in crowded areas. Keep a couple of buckets of water handy for putting out fires. Remember, every major fire starts small.
Let your children burst crackers on their own. Have an adult accompany children while bursting crackers.
Wear long, loose synthetic clothes while lighting crackers. The loose ends can catch fire. Wear well-fitting cotton clothes.
Light crackers bare foot. Wear shoes or slippers while bursting crackers.
Leave spent sparklers on the ground. Put the spent sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as you’ve used them.
Ignore a burn injury. Wash the affected area with plenty of cold water and seek medical help.
Ignore an eye burn Wash the eye with plenty of water then rush the victim to the hospital.

Have a Happy and Safe Diwali.

Download this table in easy to print format

Designate areas to light fire crackers

Another important thing that is mandatory in a gated community is to light fire crackers only in designated areas. While, every one loves to light crackers in their balconies or just outside their flat, it is not preferred as it can lead to serious fire accidents. It is imperative that in a community, the managing committee designates areas where fire crackers can be lighted and for all the members to follow the same. Usual places where fire crackers cannot be burnt are balconies, staircases, lobbies, lawns. It is also important that fireworks are lighted only during desinated timings to avoid disturbing residents of your complex.

We offer here a template that your association can customize updating the designated timings, designated areas to light crackers and also update emergency contact numbers. You can share the notice with your residents, print the same on your society’s letter head and put it up in all notice boards. Download the Diwali Notice template to customize it for your complex.

With a little bit of care and caution, Diwali can be enjoyed by one and all. Take that few additional steps to make sure that the festival leaves only pleasant memories for all involved. We wish you a very happy and safe Diwali!


Society etiquette for members in an Apartment Complex

With prices of land increasing by the day, more and more families are finding apartments a better and affordable option to stay in. However, living in an apartment is a whole lot different than staying in a stand-alone house or a bungalow. Unlike a independent house, in an apartment, there are dozens of families living apart from you. And therefore, it is imperative that you keep the comfort of others in mind too while enjoying your own when staying in an apartment. Often, people coming to live in an apartment for the first time find it hard to adjust to the slightly restrictive environment of apartments. However, it is vital for your own good as well as the overall harmony of the society that you follow some general etiquette while living in an apartment complex:

Keep the noise down

Noise if one of the most common irritants in a apartment complex; a apartment complex, understandably, has walls of different homes very close together, so the blaring sound from your stereo system can easily disturb your neighbour. Always keep in mind that while you may love your music, others have right to their sleep as well. Whether you are watching television or listening to your favourite number, keep the volume at a level which does not disturb others.

Inform beforehand about a party

In case you are having a party at your place, inform the other dwellers in the apartment building beforehand; ask them till when is it okay to keep the music blaring. Doing so helps in building a good rapport with the neighbours. A good rapport means that even if you cross the limits by chance, chances are that you would be politely told about it rather than inviting cop trouble.

Use the elevators appropriately

If you are living in a high rise, chances are that you would be using the elevator several times a day. However, while using the elevator, keep in mind that you do not keep the elevator waiting unnecessarily. If you waiting for your family or friends to come in and if they are taking too long, let the elevator go; after all, there are others too who are waiting on some other floor for the elevator. Getting into an overcrowded elevator is also a bad habit, even if there is just enough space for you to squeeze in. Refrain from doing it.

Keep the children under control

Families with children should make their kids understand that too much noise or stomping on the floor can disturb the sleep of others, which is not appropriate.

The guest factor

If you have some guests coming over, make sure you brief them about the rules and regulations of the society beforehand to avoid any trouble.

Keep your pet on a leash

Everyone does not love animals. If you have a pet, keep it on a leash when you take it out for a walk. Never leave your pet alone when it is outside the four walls of your premises as it may cause more than just inconvenience for the neighbours.

Do not honk

If you arriving from a party late at night, do not honk incessantly as it can disturb the sleep of people.

Park your vehicle properly

Although most apartment complexes have designated parking slots for people residing in the complex, there are still some people who park their vehicle without paying heed to others’ discomfort. Always park your vehicle at your designated slot and park it in a way that does not block the right to passage of other vehicles.

Use of stairs

Most often, children run up and down the stairs, which, other than causing disturbance, can also cause injury to others. Please be firm when dealing with your kids who indulge in such games.

Walking in the hallway

While walking down a hallway, you should always converse softly. Talking loudly in the hallway can irritate others and can also jeopardise your privacy. Now, you surely do not want that to happen, do you?

We at ApnaComplex care about each and every person living in an apartment and this is a small initiative on our part to make people understand that it is important to keep the rights of other people in mind while enjoying your own freedom.

ApnaComplex is offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively.


Upkeep of Common Areas in a Gated Community – Lawns, Gyms and Swimming Pools

Maintaining common areas in an apartment complex or a gated community is a continuous process, and every single individual living in the community should do their part in order to live that dream life of perfection.

Every apartment is expected to have a professional maintenance crew, who will be responsible for keeping the premises clean and green. However, this does not mean that individual responsibility does not count and is not necessary. Residents will need to maintain their exteriors and common amenities well, in order to enjoy the benefits of living in a collective community that looks good, feels good and functions great!

Upkeep of Apartment Complex is everyone's duty

Living in an apartment complex is all about learning to co-exist in peace, as you will be sharing many public spaces like gyms, swimming pools, lawns and even roads with the other members of the community. Due to the sheer volume of people using these spaces, maintaining them properly becomes an aspect of utmost importance. There are a few basic tips that any resident can follow to maintain these places.

Workout Rooms and Gyms

Most apartment complexes will have common workout rooms, and you will need to do your part in maintaining these properly after every single workout session. Although you need not roll up your sleeves and fix broken equipment, there are some basic things you can do.

  • Clean all equipments once you’re done using them. Sometimes all that gym equipments need is a proper wipe, because sweat and perspiration will tend to collect on them during a workout session. Take a separate cloth along with you and wipe all the dumbbells and weights after working out.
  • Equipments that have gears will need to be oiled regularly for their proper functioning. Take time off to tell the gym in charge if you notice any equipment is not doing great. This also gives the administrators of the gym that you’re participating in the upkeep of it, rather than just using the equipment and “getting them to do their job”.
  •  Nuts and bolts that are loose can prove disastrous, so tighten all the bolts once in a while to ensure proper safety. Keep the administration informed, or talk to your trainer or instructor about the equipment. If some equipment seem overstrained, its best to put up a small note on it or by the side, asking other users to treat the equipment with care until it is repaired or replaced.

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Lawns

A beautiful lawn can grab many eyeballs, and maintaining a lawn is quite easy once you know the bare basics.

  • The secret to maintain a beautiful lawn is proper watering. Hose down the lawns regularly without fail, as lawns will need at least an inch of water every week. The condition of the soil can indicate whether the lawn needs watering or not, as dry soil is often a dead giveaway. Observing the lawns on an everyday basis before or after returning from work will help in the long run- you’ll notice if the plants are responding favourably to the conditions they are in and can discuss the same with the gardening staff.
  • Keep an eye out for weeds and remove them constantly. Using weed control tools and fertilizers and other chemicals in this case can also help. Your actions should be approved by other members while using chemicals, though. This is something best done through the association of the gated community.
  • Take some time off to partner with a few neighbours to maintain or develop your garden. Gardening is a great stress buster and residents can pool together to monitor and innovate the gardens and lawns to ensure that the greens are good to go.

Swimming Pools

There’s nothing quite like taking a dip in the pool during a sunny summer day, but keep in mind the fact that the pool is a public space that needs to be properly maintained in order to avoid infections and fungi.

  • Follow up with the pool staff to see how often the pool is being cleaned and chlorinated or filtered. This helps in two ways, one, you know when the pool was last cleaned and whether it makes sense to jump in, and two, everybody is aware of the maintenance of the pool and that the maintenance staff are doing their job accountably. Getting the association to put up a “Cleaning Schedule” in the vicinity of the swimming pool goes a long way in achieving this.
  • Make sure that other users and residents of the swimming pool adhere to the rules of the amenity. If you see people jumping in with improper swimwear, notify the lifeguard or the staff and ensure they take action. The same goes with hygiene in the pool, usage of head and shower caps etc.
  • There will be some corners that these chemicals will not reach, and these regions should be scrubbed with cleaning brushes, considering they accumulate dirt and grime. While you’re in the pool it’s important to notice if these “dark areas” are existent and whether they have been cleaned effectively. You can then take the same up with the maintenance staff and ensure it’s been done.
  • Try and get your association to put up a complaint board in the swimming pool premises. This ensures that people can make public complaints, of course, with their identity and information of who they are, where they live, what the problem was, when it was reported etc, so the management can follow up with staff to ensure the problem is validated and fixed immediately. The solution and the response from the maintenance staff can also be put up in plain sight on the same board so residents know that the staff are addressing key issues and working to come up with solutions.

These basic tips, when followed properly, will help you enjoy an active and healthy social life with the other members in your apartment, without any worries or issues! A gated community is like a big house. It involves commitment and social responsibility to maintain what is beautiful and good for all. The best gated communities in the world are built not only by brick and stone, but by active and participating residents and innovative public governance and responsibility.

ApnaComplex is offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively


How to Carry out a Fire Drill in your Apartment?

ApnaComplex Recommends: A Fire Drill for your Housing Complex

With the number of high-rises increasing by the day, fire accidents in apartment complexes have the potential to cause huge damage to life and property. Especially vulnerable are children and senior citizens who get caught in the chaos and are unable to save themselves. While residents of high-rises should be particularly careful, even housing societies with smaller buildings or bungalows cannot take fire lightly. It is thus the duty of each and every housing association to treat fire prevention and fighting as an essential part of their responsibilities.

What does this responsibility involve?

First and foremost, the society should ensure that all fire equipments are in working order and that they can be easily accessible. In addition, a housing association should take proactive steps to prevent fires, and in the worst case, minimize the loss to life in the eventuality of a fire. The best way to ensure that your society is equipped to respond to a fire emergency is by carrying out a fire drill at regular intervals.

Research show that close to 50% of people who die in fires were those who were trying to escape. A fire drill helps members develop an exit plan that could easily save precious lives. It teaches them to take control of the situation and follow a pre-prepared plan of action instead of panicking at the situation around them.

We at ApnaComplex recommend each and every housing association to carry out a Fire Drill in your society. This article aims to create awareness about the importance of a Fire Drill and the process of carrying out one.  

Carrying out a Fire Drill in your housing complex would involve the following three steps:

  • Planning the fire drill
  • Executing the plan
  • Assessing the outcome

Planning:

  • Fix a date and time for the drill that will suit everyone in the society. A good weekend or a public holiday will be preferable.
  • Inform all the members of the housing society about the importance of the drill, as many might think it’s just a game.
  • Plan how each member in every home will escape from their rooms, starting with the bedrooms. If possible, plan two escape routes from each house; incase the first route is blocked due to some reason. For instance, the second route may be to go out a window, or stand at a window where firefighters can see the member.
  • No excuses should be allowed for not participating.  Everyone must leave the building during the drill period. Even babysitters, frequent visitors or overnight guests should be included.
  • Decide where every member will meet once they are outside.
  • Ask residents to lock their doors as usual while running out of their home during the drill.
  • Allocate two persons to coordinate the drill; one person for creating the smoke to blow the fire alarm and the other person to keep track of the time taken by each family to arrive at the meeting point.
  • Make a list of all the family members present in each family so that it would be easy to track the exit of all the members of the society.

Executing:

  • At the determined time, ask one of the coordinators to create a smoke by lighting an incense-stick or some paper near any of the smoke sensors. The objective is to start the fire alarm in the building.
  • Once the alarm sounds, everybody in their homes should proceed promptly to the outside of the building by means of the nearest exit. Ensure that everyone reaches the desired meeting point within 3-4 minutes. If some people are unable to do so, make them do the drill again.
  • Ensure everyone in each household can open all doors and windows.
  • All members should proceed to the designated meeting place outside.
  • Once all people have reached the meeting place, reset the building alarm system.
  • Notify the building occupants that they can return to the building by giving the “all clear” signal.

Assessing:

  • Document every fire drill carried out and note the frequent problems faced. Seek the help of the nearby fire station for solutions.
  • Share this document with all the members of the society within 48 hours. Discuss the problems and solutions in details.
  • Put a timeline for the necessary actions to be carried and note its effectiveness during the next fire drill.

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Good habits to follow:

  • Test your smoke alarm once a month. Change standard batteries twice a year.
  • Carry out a fire drill at least twice a year.
  • Ensure that parking is not allowed near fire hydrants and that there is enough space for a fire truck to enter the society premises in case of an emergency.
  • In a real fire, get out and stay out. Then call the emergency fire brigade number. Do not go back into the building until it has been cleared by the fire brigade.
  • Residents can have windows with security bars that have an emergency release devices so they can be opened easily from the inside.

Taking adequate precautions and sincerely participating in Fire Drills can benefit everyone involved. If your housing association is planning to carry out a Fire Drill for the first time then do take the services of an expert who can guide you about it in a step-by-step manner. Also inform your nearest fire station about the exercise and seek any additional help in terms of information or personnel during the event.


This article aims at collating and providing a ready to use guideline for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use the information in the article as a guidance and do your own due diligence before any fire drill. If you need professional advice on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form.

10 Eco-Living Tips for Everyone

Today, there is growing awareness and acceptance of the fact that our lifestyle directly or indirectly affects the environment. Whether it is global warming, changing climate patterns, shortage of drinking water and energy, dwindling forest cover, the extinction of species… we know that somewhere, it is the choices we make that is responsible for these events. Unfortunately, although most of us have good intentions and would like to make a positive difference, not many are sure how we, living in cities and struggling to cope with the challenges of daily life, can do anything to help the environment. 

In this article, we present 10 simple and actionable ideas that almost each one of us can carry out to make a positive difference to the environment. These changes will not require you to change your lifestyle drastically, but they will leave a powerful and lasting impact on the world around us. In addition, these changes will help reduce expenses and lead to more balanced and healthy living.

Please read this article to see if you could change the way you’re living for the benefit of our beautiful world. At the end, if you feel these changes are helpful, we request you to forward it to your friends and relatives. Let’s do the best we can for the world around us. We owe it to the Earth and our future generations!

1. Save energy:

The easiest way to make a difference is by reducing energy consumption. Nowadays, energy-efficient bulbs are easily available. They are not only inexpensive they also consume up to five times lesser energy than ordinary bulbs. All it needs is a bit more effort from our side to make the change.

Also use cooking gas prudently. Plan your cooking such that you have all the ingredients handy before you light the gas. This can considerably reduce consumption over a period of a month. Similarly, avoid drying your clothes in a washing machine as it is very energy-consuming. Dry your clothes the natural way – using the abundant sunlight that our country receives by using any empty area in one of the rooms.

2. Eco-friendly material for your home:

Use water-based, lead-free paints for your home. Ensure that the paints do not give off fumes that will affect the air quality around you. While choosing furnishing, opt for those made from cotton, jute, silk, or other natural fibers as they are bio-degradable and healthier for the entire family. They can also be recycled for future use as a kitchen mop or for carrying out simple dusting and cleaning jobs. Wherever possible opt for environment-friendly cleaning liquids and soaps. Read the labels to check whether they have any detrimental affect on the environment.

3. Reduce waste:

If you keep a small garden patch or potted plants then you should collect organic and inorganic waste separately. Leftover food, fruit and vegetable peel, used tea leaves, etc. can be collected in the organic waste bin and used as compost for your plants. The inorganic waste can be disposed as usual. This will not only reduce the amount of waste in the city but also your dependency on fertilizers for your plants. The best way to reduce waste is to avoid it at the source itself. For example, you could carry your own shopping bags instead of bringing home plastic bags each time you shop and then disposing them. Similarly, while requesting a home-delivery, you can specify that you need the minimal packaging.

4. Use public transport:

Whenever possible, avoid using the car and walk or take the public transport. Not only will it improve your health and cut down your fuel bills, it will also reduce emissions into the atmosphere. Actively look for opportunities to form a carpool with members of your society for work or for dropping children at their school.

5. De-clutter your surroundings:

Keep only those things that you’d need on a regular basis. Dispose the ones that you do not foresee using for a long time. To avoid over-storage, dispose off the older items the moment you have bought a replacement for it. This policy will also ensure that you’ll seriously consider your buying decisions. In short, think before you buy. It will not only save you money but it will also ensure that as a society we consume only that much we need.

6. Replace disposable with reusables:

Try to change the way you shop. Buy stuff that you can keep for a longer duration rather than those that you’d have to throw after use. Switch to reusable razors, batteries, ink cartridges, bags, coffee filters, etc. If you use tissue papers, switch to cloth napkins. If you have a printer at home, then make it a point to use both sides of the paper. 

7. Reduce unnecessary consumption:

If you are going to need something only once, try to borrow it from a friend. Similarly, you should offer anything that your friend may need only once in a while. This will reduce unnecessary consumption on our part. Some items that you could avoid buying double can include books, movie and music cds, games, etc.

8. Switch to a vegetarian diet:

Not only is it proven that livestock contribute more greenhouse gases (18%) than transportation (13.5%), they also consume enormous amounts of grain to feed them. This reduces the amount of food grains that are available to feed the world’s hungry. Switching to a vegetarian could change the imbalance and ensure that there is enough for everyone to eat.

9. Conserve water:

Water is a precious commodity we all know. That it will soon become (if it hasn’t already) a scarce commodity is a fact that we’ll have to accept. It’s time we learnt to conserve the limited amount of fresh water we have. Use water only when you need it. Eliminate wastage of water through leaking pipes and faucets. Also make sure that they are not left on while you are finishing a task. Use washing machines when you have a full load of laundry. Use recycled water while washing your car. Look around your home and identify tasks where you might be wasting water. Make a conscious effort to reduce wastage in your home. 

10. Buy local:

Wherever possible, encourage manufacturers and producers of goods around your locality. Local goods will not only be fresher but also cheaper than branded items. You could also avoid all the unnecessary packaging and storage that accompanies items that have traveled from far. The greater the distance the goods you buy travel, greater is their impact on the environment in terms of fuel and effort involved in transporting them to your locality.  Your patronage of local items will also allow you to give direct feedback that could improve the quality of the goods and the service.

These may seem like little drops in the face of the tsunami of changes we are seeing in the environment. But believe us, if each one of us makes these changes, we could tilt the balance in favour of Mother Nature. Do not undermine the results of these efforts – be positive and let’s make a positive difference – from today!


Household Help: Look before you hire

Household helps were once considered a symbol of affluence – a luxury that only a few could afford. But now, hiring one or even a few to help with the daily chores has become a necessity. From nannies to cleaners to cooks, drivers and gardeners, the services on offer are diverse and all of them have takers. 

But while there is a healthy demand-supply ratio, things are not all that easy and rosy. While India has a reputation for getting manual labour at much cheaper rates than other countries, the quality and reliability of these staff has raised a huge question mark. At the extreme end is the number of crimes committed by such household helps on the very employers who hired them. So should one give in to the need for a household help even with the associated risks or try to manage life one our own even if it means compromising on certain things? It’s a conundrum that only those who’ve experienced can relate to.

In this article we present our views on the process of selecting and hiring household helps based on the experiences of people from around the country. It should offer you some insights on how you could go about finding and keeping a household help that will make a positive difference to your lifestyle.

Know your needs

Before you decide to get a household help, ascertain your need for it. Get into the specifics of how this help will add value to your life. It could be a nanny for your child, a driver, a cook, etc. It’s not just a matter of money. You need to understand that you’ll be handing over some part of your life to these people. Not to mention a bit of your privacy and personal time. You may also have to get involved with some of their personal problems too. So decide how much value this additional resource will add to your life. Once you are sure that everything considered, your help will make a substantial difference, start looking out for him/her.

Define your requirement

Once you’ve decided to go for a household help, define the tasks that this person will carry out for you. Assume that you’re going to recruit this person by placing an ad in the newspaper. In which case, you’ll have to list down the job description and the qualifications for that post. Jot down these points before you go help scouting. Of course, you’ll not place an ad – but it will come in very handy when you’re screening potential candidates and short listing the ones you like. Age, familiarity with the locality, gender, salary expectations, experience, language etc. could all be the criteria that you mention in this requirement definition.

Announce your need

Now that you are armed with what you want, you should make your need known to the market. You have quite a few options here – not all of them very structured, though. You could approach a few of the agencies in your area that supply helps. The advantage of agencies is that they will send people after knowing your requirements and once you’ve engaged them, they usually tend to offer services over a period of the contract. In case the household help has to be replaced, the agency also steps in to provide an alternative within a specified time limit. But you’ll have to mention these clearly to the agency when you discuss your needs. The other option is to go the social networking route. Talk to other household helps in your complex, mention it to the security guards and even other residents who employ household helps. Once the word spreads, you’ll have your candidates dropping in to your home.

Interview and salary negotiation

If you talk to some of the fellow members who employ helps, you’ll realise that the most common grouse against helps is that they go on leave without giving adequate notice or that they extend their leaves without prior notice. This is the most critical part as it throws your life completely out of gear as you try to fill in the gap that your household help was filling in. If she was responsible for looking after your baby then you either have to take a leave or work from home. If she was responsible for cooking then you have to either leave late or arrange for meals from outside or drop in early. If it was the driver then you have to learn how to negotiate the traffic jams all over again. And so on.

During the interview stage, make sure that you clear all these points. The best way to go about through the interview process is to let the other person talk as much as possible. Ask them to describe their daily routine in their current job, their family background, their experience, etc. In case you make your demands first, they are bound to structure their story around your expectations. So just mention the requirement first and then ask them to tell you how they fit into the role. Once they’ve finished, you’ll have a fair idea of whether this is the person who could fit into your needs. You could question them to get more details on a particular aspect, if you wish.

The salary part is not as tricky as some people might think. There is a standard rate for most roles and you could ask around to know that is the going rate. If you offer certain benefits you could mention them while discussing the salary. It could be festival offs along with weekly holidays or bonuses or any other benefits. If someone makes an unreasonable quote, find out if there’s a genuine reason for it and if it something that you’d like to pay for. For example, a nanny who’s been trained in first aid and knows how to talk and write in English may charge a premium over someone who doesn’t know these. Similarly for a driver or a cook who is tuned to a lifestyle similar to yours. And so on.

If you’re recruiting through an agency then the fees would be mentioned upfront and you’ll have little room for negotiations. But you should be absolutely be clear about the service that the agency will offer after the person has joined your employment.

Getting along with your household help

Once you’ve got the person you wanted, you’ll need to spend some time with that person to make him/her understand your way of doing things. Make sure that you are very clear about things that you will not compromise on. Cleanliness or punctuality or a day’s notice before taking a leave – anything that you are very particular about should be communicated to the help so that there is no misunderstanding on that front.

With the spate of crimes abounding, it would be wise to record information about your household help. This can be in the form of an ID that you can photocopy and keep with you or if you are able to, recording the personal details with your local police station or the managing committee. In case you have to dismiss a help for a conduct that you feel has criminal overtones, make it a point to register it with your local police station.

Be on the alert till you are completely sure that the household is reliable. If there is a family member at home then that person can supervise the work. But if you don’t have that luxury, then make it a point to drop in for a surprise visit once in a while so that you don’t get an unpleasant surprise at some later date.

Finding and retaining a household help that fits in well with your needs can make your life much more peaceful and efficient. So put in that extra bit of effort to get the right person. All the best!