When emergencies strike, no one can be fully prepared for them. However, there are many things you can do in preparation that will help ease the pain during and after the event. When considering emergencies, keep in mind there are two types of emergencies:
- Expected events in which you have some advanced notice of such as a hurricane
- Unexpected emergencies which include events like tornadoes, earthquakes and fires.
When the threat of expected emergencies is looming over your property, it is better to begin planning as soon as possible. The following are suggestions in safeguarding your facility:
- Consider closing the facilities office ahead of the projected event in order to give your staff time to focus on securing the property and to give them time to focus on their personal residence as well.
- Pre-book hotel rooms and repair personnel if possible. Reach out to local moving companies and temp agencies for relocation assistance that may be needed by your tenants.
- Contact your trash vendor to get on their list for a roll-off dumpster. It will be a long list if you wait until after the emergency strikes.
- Order supplies. Make sure the property has plenty of locks, boxes and tape available for use.
- Communicate! Make sure your staff, vendors, insurance company and customers know about any happenings at the property including closings, temporary gate hours and temporary office hours.
If your property is effected by an expected emergency or after an unexpected emergency has taken place, flexibility and communication will be absolutely crucial to get the property operating quickly. Every day will yield new obstacles and tasks demanding the need for flexibility and prioritizing. Consider having daily briefs with all team members to recap activities and goals. Here are some additional factors to consider when an emergency occurs:
- Issue a temporary credit card to your team members to use to purchase necessary supplies.
- Identify units that tenants can move their belongings into if needed. Overlocking units that are not available is also important as it will ensure that tenants do not move into the units without permission or notice. Also, designate areas on the property for debris and for temporary roll-off dumpsters.
- If it is a natural disaster, print the FEMA contact information for tenants.
- Document EVERYTHING! Pictures, notes, comments, call logs, etc. all need to be kept and or connected to tenant’s files for future reference.
After any emergency, make sure to recognize and thank all the team members who went above and beyond their role to help and assist. It takes the whole team to successfully overcome an emergency of any magnitude.