A property manager is responsible for keeping both his tenants and the property safe. You must be prepared for unexpected dangers such as criminal activity, natural disaster and terrorist acts. These events are unfortunately becoming increasingly common and they can have catastrophic consequences. It is imperative that you prepare properly for such events. Failure to do so can leave your company open to financial disaster, especially if you are forced to evacuate or close down your buildings. You can also face lawsuits if you acted negligently in protecting your tenants.
Not all security threats can be avoided but some situations can be prevented or mitigated with appropriate preparation. Here are some tips to help you and your tenants stay safe:
- Advise staff and residents to report any suspicious persons or activity in or around facility. See something, say something.
- Establish and follow appropriate visitor control procedure.
- Ensure that locks, fences, lights, and security devices are in place when needed and in proper operating condition. Establish a monthly inspection of your security perimeter and all security devices of your facility.
- Evaluate critical locations in your facility for proper security, including the electric, telephone and gas units, entrances, transformers, outside storage units and computer rooms.
- Be sure each unit is equipped with appropriate locks and security feature, and instruct residents to let management know if maintenance is needed or if their key is lost or stolen.
- If your facility has a security/fire alarm system, be sure it is operating properly and that key personnel know how to arm/disarm it.
- Make sure that fire suppression systems are regularly inspected and maintained. Also be sure that a sufficient number of trusted personnel know how to activate, operate and shut them down.
- Make sure that fire extinguishers are placed in strategic locations and maintained, inspected, and tagged annually by a licensed contracted.
- Security cameras can serve as an excellent crime deterrent and when the system is recorded it can help solve crime.
- Review procedures for issuing facility keys and access cards. Keep track of all residents who have received key and how many were issued per unit.
- Discuss security with your local police department. Police departments are often very willing to provide information and support, which may include regular patrols through your complex or past your properties.
- Have your local fire department or fire marshal conduct a preplanned visit to your building. They can help identify potential hazards and plan a fire suppression plan.
Disasters happen. You can’t prevent them but you can prepare to mitigate the damage to life and property.
- Discuss your terrorism, flood and other disaster coverage options with Fidella Insurance Agency to make sure you are adequately covered.
- Keep copies of insurance policies and other critical documents (deeds, pictures, contracts etc.) in a safe and accessible location such as fireproof safe.
- Copy and keep digital copies of all insurance policies and other critical documents in a safe online location.
- Create a Disaster Recovery Plan and periodically review and update it. Prepare for disruptions in essential systems, infrastructure or building functions.
- Have telephone call lists available for all key personnel so they can be contacted from any location in the event of a disaster.
- Establish a system to communicate with tenants in the of an emergency saturation. Keep your tenants appraised of this system and other disaster response plans, including all changes and updates. This system should include evacuation plans, building lock-down procedures and other security procedures.
Disaster and crises cannot always be prevented, but proper preparation can mitigate the risks and dangers involved and keep you, your tenants, and your property safe.
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