While winter weather gives Gladstone residents a break from lawn care, minimum maintenance requirements still pertain to all premises and structures. You won’t want to paint your house or build a new structure in the snow, but there are property maintenance items that will keep you and your family safe throughout the winter months.

The residential relation and maintenance coordinators have recently conducted a tree survey to notify property owners about the existence of dead trees on their property. The survey is intended to prevent branches and tree trunks from causing damage by landing on a roof, a vehicle or even a child. Tree branches that hang over sidewalks or driveways can be especially dangerous and should be trimmed back. If you notice tree debris on city streets, please report it to Public Works at 436-5442.

While fire pits are a nice way to enjoy your patio when it’s cold outside, safety regulations require them to be 10 feet away from any dwelling and away from trees and overhead wires. If you’re planning to deep-fry a turkey for the holidays, stay 15 feet away from combustible materials like your wooden deck or porch, and be aware of the danger of grease fires. Someone should be with the fire at all times with a fire extinguisher readily available.

In a previous article, the fire marshal reminded us that bonfires are not allowed anywhere in the city of Gladstone as it is unlawful to burn trash, construction materials or yard waste. The “Guidelines for Fire Pits and Outdoor Cooking” brochure is available at the two city fire stations.

Unfortunately, home fires can be caused by the unsafe use of space heaters. Make certain that your space heater is 3 feet away from any flammable fabrics like curtains, bedding and couches. Purchase units that have auto shutoff if it is tipped over, especially if you have pets. Always plug the heater directly into the wall outlet, never use an extension cord.

You should also be sure that your smoke detectors are operational. Did you know our fire department provides free smoke detector installations? They even bring their own ladder. To schedule an appointment, call 452-3707.

Vehicles should always be parked on an approved surface, concrete or asphalt, and are not allowed to be parked in your yard. Make sure that they don’t block the sidewalk at the end of your driveway. This is a safety hazard for children walking home from school or neighbors walking their pets at night as it forces them to walk in the street, and possibly in the path of a car.

If you have concerns about cars that are parked on the street in a manner that blocks your ability to turn or to navigate down your street, please contact the Traffic Department in Public Safety. They can be reached at 436-3550.

After the holidays, keep Gladstone beautiful by properly disposing of your Christmas tree. Our Public Works department is offering free Christmas tree disposal at the facility, 4000 NE 76th St., to Gladstone residents from Dec 26 to Jan 1.

This article is the twelfth of a monthly series from the city of Gladstone to help residents understand maintenance regulations and enforcement.