Owners An appliance break down at any time of the year is a challenge, but when the fridge stops working on a hot summer day, it’s important to have a game plan in place.We’re fortunate in living so close to our vacation rental that it’s just a 10-minute drive to get there to manage any problems but if you live further away you need to have a strategy for managing essential appliance breakdown.For those who know me well, you will be aware I operate on the GAMI principle. Neither I nor my other half has any clue about do-it-yourself stuff. He was a navigator in the RAF for 35 years so can tell you anything you need to know about air-to-air refueling and getting from the UK to Cyprus in order to arrive before the bar shuts. I was a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, so could make you cluck like a chicken every time the doorbell rings, but our combined DIY expertise amounts to changing light bulbs and operating a sink plunger.We lived in military housing for many of those years and if anything broke down we Got A Man In hence the GAMI principle. This trend has continued and since we’ve been in Ontario and renting out cottages, have always made sure we have a reliable source to call on in case of emergency in any of the properties.Here’s a few keys to successful problem management if you, like us, are not that handy:· Make a list of emergency issues that may arise that would need fast response. These could be breakdown of an essential feature such as the refrigerator, heating supply, or a problem with a water source. Then, write down a plan for dealing with each issue. Include contact numbers for maintenance people and contractors and make sure your caretaker has a copy. If you use an agency to handle your rentals, give them a copy too.· Create a good relationship with someone local to your property who can be called upon to deal with minor issues. Often this is simply to decide if a contractor needs to be booked. We recently had a call from a renter who said the dishwasher wasn’t working at one of our managed cottages. The local contact was able to pop round and establish they had not turned the dial far enough to engage the programme. This brief visit prevented the expense of an emergency callout to a repairman.· Source a reliable electrician and plumber who can be contacted in case of an emergency. Find out their emergency call-out rates and get an estimate of response times. Note the phone numbers of local appliance repair companies, and check they could handle the breakdown of your appliances is something occurs.· Provide renters with an alternative source of appliance for emergency use. For example, buy a portable electric/propane fridge that can be used in case of an emergency. A propane camping stove can also be very handy in the event of a power outage. A charcoal BBQ and a bag of charcoal is useful to have on standby in case of your propane BBQ becoming unusable for any reason.You might sail through every season without a single issue but being prepared for the unforeseen is really good practice. When something does go wrong you can bet your bottom dollar it will be when you are just about to head off for a few quiet days away, or when a bunch of people have just arrived for a family event. Better to be safe than sorry!