September is national Emergency Preparedness month. Along with other important duties, every property manager should consider having a well thought out emergency plan. Ideally, it will never need to be used. However, being prepared is always important.
If an emergency does strike, having a solid response plan can save lives in addition to vital components of each tenant’s business. The type of plan you need depends on the worst type of disaster that has potential to impact your property. There are obvious factors in being prepared such as a fire escape routes, general evacuation procedures and storm shelters, but the location of the property can influence how the plan is written. For example, properties in the Midwest should include instructions for what to do during a tornado warning while properties in California should include instructions for what to do during an earthquake. Each plan will also vary according to the size, layout and landscape of the property and its surroundings.
There are several elements that every emergency preparedness plan must include:
- Escape/evacuation route
- Communications plan
- Utility shut-off plan
- Special needs (for handicap and elderly tenants, etc.)
- Safety resources (list of emergency numbers, individuals who can administer CPR, etc.)
Communication of Information
No matter how good your plan is, it will not be effective if the information in the plan is not disseminated. Tenants and property management personnel must know the plan exists by posting evacuation routes throughout the property in several places including stairwells and elevators. In addition to posters in the building, provide printouts of the plan with the lease packet at move-in and redistribute it every year.
During an emergency, the top priority is to ensure tenants are quickly removed from harm’s way. The next goal is to protect the property from damage. This is not possible in many situations but having insurance coverage for all types of damage is the best way to protect the property. FEMA recommends that all property owners carefully research the Insurance Information Institute to determine what kinds of insurance will offer the most protection.
Creating an emergency plan can be overwhelming, however many resources do exist to help you. City engineers, planning or zoning administrators and FEMA should all be able to advise you on what sort of disasters to be planning for and provide professional tips on how to protect your property and tenants from potential threats.
For more information about emergency preparedness, contact MAC today. MAC is a contractor Kansas City property and facility managers have trusted for more than 25 years. MAC can help you with any facility repairs, remodeling, custom cabinetry, construction and many other projects.