Its 2 am….the captain from the local fire department is on the phone with an emergency at your property. Are you prepared? Emergencies of all types can and do happen every day. From weather and natural disasters to vandalism and equipment failure, the best defense will be a good offense (accompanied of course by prepared, accessible and well-thought out response plans).

1. Know your property and its environment.

Do you have a detailed list of all tenants, what they do in your buildings, and what potentially flammable materials they retain? What are the most common hazards you might encounter at this property: frequent storms, nearby hazardous industries, high-crime? Are there unique features of your property that make emergency mitigation delayed or difficult? (e.g. access, frequent flooding, limited parking for emergency vehicles).

2. Maintain a current resource list.

Maintain an active list of resources you can access quickly, such as flood control, window boarding, security, and property cleaning services. Know your local safety forces and building department officials by name and frequently provide them updates on your property. Time spent upfront complying with codes and showing you are a good steward will certainly pay off in a better relationship; a relationship you may need in a crisis. Just as important, have a way to contact all tenants and those that access the property. Phone, text, social media and email programs provide fast and easy distribution (if you populate the data first and know how simple programs work in advance). Smartphones today provide applications that allow you to contact entire groups in one, simple step.

3. Know your legal obligations.

Have you reviewed or abstracted the leases and sublet terms? What are you required to do, and by when, if the property is severely damaged? Are you adequately insured for not only property restoration, but business interruption for you and your tenants? Do you have the financial resources on hand to mitigate issues, even if you have to wait for reimbursement from insurance? These questions should be explored during each and every inspection, maintenance visit and portfolio review.

Commercial Asset Preservation provides national property maintenance, inspection and day porter services. To put them on your team, contact Marc at [email protected] or call (800) 445-0640.

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