Friday, April 22, 2011

Two ponds and a stream of worry

Q. Is it fair to say that a very large (two four foot deep ponds and a stream) and beautiful water feature (posing a very real drowning threat for children) add monetary value to a home?

Dear Streamly Worried,
I think water features add monetary value (not that money is the most valuable value) to a home. Sort of in the same way a staircase (though it poses a real falling threat for children and the elderly*) adds monetary value to a home with a second story. Sort of the way a sprinkler system (posing a very real toe stubbing, shin gashing, tooth chipping, head gauging danger) adds monetary value to a home with a yard. And kind of like indoor plumbing adds monetary value to a home with a bathroom and/or kitchen. 

If anyone happens to buy a home with any or all of these features I encourage you to extend the common courtesy  to any new inhabitants or visitors of the hidden dangers found in the home. It takes but a moment to tour your loved ones and guests through the residence and grounds. This will give you opportunity to point out any danger areas. You will have, no doubt, clearly indicated all hazards by marking them with yellow caution tape or reflective strips. Might I also point out the benefit of working up a safety pamphlet to be distributed to newly arrived guests. This way, each visitor to the property has a constant reminder of any and all  lurking hazards, possible scenarios pertaining to each hazard, how to safely interact with the hazards and what to do in case of a hazard induced emergency. 

I feel I would be remiss if I did not inform you that I am in no way a licensed or reputable expert on the subject of real estate appraisal or water hazard assessment. I do however, write to you as an expert domestic visitor. I have been to some of these homes with their attractive water hazards and camouflaged irrigation systems. And rarely is a word of warning  extended  to me as to how best enjoy these potentially lethal beauties. Self publishing and printing costs have never been easier or more affordable. And yet the trends have lead us to the more stationary, mass communication based, wall mount placard. I feel this in its self is a hidden danger.  

What will you find if you run to an elevator during a fire evacuation? Safe passage out of the building? No. You will find a sign that reads: USE STAIRS IN CASE OF FIRE. What if you just passed the staircase? Now you have to go back. In an event such as this, who has time to run to the elevator for instruction? If safety pamphlets were still being distributed, you would have had the necessary emergency instruction in hand and at the ready. I feel this kind of communication is more important than ever, yet becoming extinct**.

What if we were the ones to let our empty, pamphletless hands, be the hands that take this responsibility into our hands? That we may hand out, into the hands of others, the freedom that comes from reading a safety pamphlet and obtaining an informed understanding of ones surroundings. Honestly, if we don't preserve this form of pamphlet communication, will future generations even have the chance to know, that they miss it? 

I do hope that helps and that you will join with me in making sure tangible printed media will have room to thrive in our blessed modern age. 

*The author would like to note that this should read: people. The author does not wish to imply that children or the elderly are more prone to falling down flights of stairs. People fall down stairs. Age doesn't. 

** The word extinction was used here to add emphasis to the point the author was trying to make about pamphlets. To those still mourning the loss of the dinosaur, the dodo bird and the woolly mammoth, if you feel it is too soon to use this term in regards to a safety pamphlet, the author asks your forgiveness and mourns the loss of these majestic creatures with you. 

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