Three Tips for Preparing Your Community For An Emergency

Emergency contacts


Emergency Contact List

Keeping the Emergency Contact List updated is the first step for a property’s emergency plan.
This includes a reminder to contact alarm companies or other support service providers with changes in telephone numbers or staffing.  This should be included on the team meeting agenda.  When an alarm company is unable to contact a manager or maintenance supervisor important time is lost as they continue efforts to make someone in the company aware of the problem.  Unfortunately a failure in this process usually results in a former employee or the company COO receiving a middle of the night notification.

This happens because they were the only active accurate number on the call list with the alarm company.  In an emergency, effective time management is critical.  Overseeing real estates investments worth millions of dollars warrants responsible care and planning.

Emergency Plan

Too often emergency plans are not developed until a critical incident occurs.  This tool assigns team responsibilities.   It also provides a list of supplies; necessary to keep on hand at all times.

Years ago I managed an apartment building that experienced a devastating fire.  This fast-moving fire consumed most of the building in minutes.  The first responders with the help of the staff were able to safely evacuate every resident safely.  A list updated on a regular basis; documenting every resident with mobility limitations was credited with assisting in the evacuation efforts.

Emergency contacts

Tour The Property

Contact emergency service providers; fire, ambulance and police departments.  Schedule appointments for them to tour the property.  Inviting the providers to tour the property for an open house style experience will assist these services to understand the layout of the community.  This will provide valuable knowledge of the building layout; location for emergency resources prior to an emergency event;

  • explanation of elevator emergency systems
  • accessibility of a Knox box key storage
  • list of residents with mobility limitations, including the date to show updates and review.
  • overview and explanation of the fire alarm and monitoring system.

Municipal fire, police and other support agencies should be contacted at least twice a year.  Not only should the property specific information be reviewed, but also, inquiring if there are new or rotating staff that may be unfamiliar with the property features could benefit from an orientation or tour.

The realization that updates, reviews, and revisions are generally realized too late.  If this activity is not included on the preventive maintenance calendar, it probably won’t occur when needed.  Adding this simple update to the maintenance calendar can certainly save time and it may save lives.

Lori Hammond
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