In an age where safety and security of a commercial building is a whole new ball of wax, knowing how to protect yourself, your property and your assets is crucial. Unfortunately, anything can happen, anywhere, at any time. Being prepared to handle any situation often falls at a property manager’s feet.
With so much at stake, properly handling emergencies require property managers to have a real awareness of the entire building layout and mechanics. While one cannot anticipate every situation, proper preparedness can mean the difference between life and death.
A commercial property manager is responsible for keeping the buildings they manage safe and secure. That is just one of the many expectations they have to meet. However, it is perhaps one of the most important, as the consequences and stakes are high.
Whether it is violence in the workplace, parking lot safety, disaster prevention or preparedness, evacuation planning or contingency plans, there is a number of ways to ensure the best possible outcome when disaster strikes, in whatever form.
No matter the reason, a situation may arise that will require a building to be evacuated. Devising a plan that identifies when and how tenants and/or employees are to respond to different types of emergencies is crucial.
Take these 8 Precautions:
1. Implement a means to alert building occupants the need to evacuate
2. Design exit routes that are clearly marked and well-lit
3. Make exits wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel
4. Ensure exits are unobstructed and clear of debris at all times
5. Designate assembly areas, both inside and outside after the evacuation
6. Take a head count
7. Account for any possible visitors
8. Establish procedures for further evacuation needs in the event that the incident expands
Depending on the circumstances and the type of emergency, the first important decision is whether tenants or employees should stay put or evacuate. Plans need to be in place for both scenarios. Common sense and the use of all available information is a skill needed when determining the level of danger.
Take these 11 Precautions:
1. Alert local authorities (they may have more information)
2. Use all available information (TV, Radio, Social Media, Phones, etc…) to access the situation. If it is not safe to evacuate, then shelter-in-place
3. Follow authorities directions to evacuate or seek medical treatment immediately
4. Implement a means of alerting building occupants to shelter-in-place
5. Keep inside
6. Provide for visitors safety
7. Have building occupants call emergency contacts to let them know where they are and that they are safe provided there is no imminent threat
8. Lock and seal all exterior doors, windows and air vents (including fire dampers)
9. Gather essential disaster supplies (wise to have an emergency stockpile somewhere in the building)
10. Select interior room(s) above ground level with the fewest windows or vents
11. Monitor available media information for further assistance
Active Shooter Plan
The threat of an active shooter is a possibility anywhere. Three years ago, the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington Delaware experienced a tragic outcome when a man embroiled in a custody dispute fatally wounded two women and injured two police officers before they shot and killed him.
As with any crisis situation, having a preparedness plan in place can help to minimize chaos and the possibility of further injury or death.
Active Shooter Plan Should:
1. Emphasize the importance of remaining calm in any violent situation
2. Encourage anyone involve to call 911, give location and description of shooter and the situation to the best of their ability
3. Enforce the importance of remaining on the line with the 911 operator until the police arrive, as needs or situation may change
4. Explain in comprehensive detail how to warn occupants that an active shooter is present
5. Include evacuation and lockdown procedures
6. Remind witnesses to closely observe details of the shooter (height, weight, skin and hair color, clothing, weapons, etc …)
7. Instruct building occupants to secure and lock all exits if the shooter leaves
8. Train occupants to take head counts and check for any injuries
9. Have regularly scheduled mock shooter drills that include evacuating the building
10. Instruct how important it is to move slowly, keep hands visible and follow instructions when the police arrive
Parking Lot Tips to Keep Tenants Safe
People frequently wander into parking lots distracted and unaware, which puts them at risk. They are easy targets for thieves and violent acts. One of a property manager’s responsibilities is to ensure the safety of a building’s occupants and assets. This is where good communication skills and active notifications can come in handy.
Make Tenants and Guest Aware By Advising Them To:
1. Stay alert and walk briskly with heads up
2. Look around before approaching parking lot or your vehicle for anyone suspicious
3. Walk with others and in well-lit areas
4. Have keys out and ready to unlock vehicle
5. Avoid wearing visibly expensive items
6. Look in both the front and back seats of vehicle before entering
7. Lock vehicle as soon as you get in
8. Don’t open the windows or doors to anyone approaching
9. Ask for security escort
10. Park in well-lit populated area of parking lot
11. Keep packages and valuable out of sight to avoid break-ins
12. Be sure to lock doors and roll up windows when leaving vehicle
A good property management company does a thorough risk management assessment of all properties and its grounds. This not only ensures that the building meets all codes and regulation requirements; it avoids unnecessary loss of revenues and, most importantly, ensures the well-being of the buildings occupants.
Asset Management Alliance has deep roots in the Delaware community helping all types of commercial property owners protect and enhance the value of their investment through employing a diligent and fully vetted management, maintenance and engineering team that is available 24/7 every day of the year.