Home » Business Division » Real Estate » News and Events
News and Events
Be Prepared for Unexpected Threats and Dangers - March 2017
As a property manager, you are responsible for the safety of
your tenants and the property itself. You need to be prepared for a host of
unforeseen dangers that threaten that safety, including criminal activity,
natural disasters and terrorist acts. Though these events may seem unlikely,
they could have catastrophic consequences so it is imperative that you prepare.
Without prior planning, you leave your company open to
financial disaster, especially if you are forced to evacuate or temporarily
close down your buildings. You also may face lawsuits for being negligent in
protecting your tenants.
One risk you need to be aware of and plan for is criminal
activity, including vandalism, break-ins, theft and violence. Though not all
security threats can be avoided, some situations can be prevented with
- Advise staff and residents to report any
suspicious persons or activity in or around the facility.
- Establish and follow visitor control procedures
when feasible. This may include assigned parking, sign-ins for use of public
areas, escorts for tours of the property, etc.
- Survey locks, fences, exterior lights and other
physical security devices to ensure that they are in place where needed and in
proper operating condition. Establish a monthly inspection of your security
perimeter and key protective features of your facility.
- Evaluate critical locations in your facility for
proper security, including the electric, telephone and gas units, building
entrances, transformers, outside storage units and computer rooms.
- Be sure each unit is equipped with appropriate
locks and security features, 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
- 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.
- Closed-circuit television can serve as an
excellent crime deterrent, and when the system is equipped with a recorder it
can help solve crimes.
- Review your procedures for issuing facility keys
and access cards. Keep a list of all residents who have received keys (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
- Have your local fire department conduct a
pre-planned visit to your building. While there, they can identify potential
hazards and plan fire suppression priorities.
Though a more unlikely risk, you should always be prepared
to use established strategies to mitigate the risk of disasters:
- Be sure to discuss terrorism and applicable
natural disaster coverage with your CMR Risk & Insurance Services, Inc.
- Keep copies of insurance policies and other
critical documents in a safe and accessible location (e.g. a fireproof safe).
- Evaluate which disasters are most likely to
occur in your area, remembering to include the possibility for terrorist
activity. Be sure you are prepared for all of the risks you identify.
- Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan. If you already
have one make sure that it is up-to-date. This entails preparing for anything
that disruption in essential systems, infrastructure or building functions.
- Have telephone call lists available (include
cell phone and pager numbers) for all key personnel so required staff members
can be contacted from any location in the event of a disaster.
- Establish a system to communicate with tenants
in the event of a disaster or other emergency situation. Educate tenants about
this system and other disaster response plans that they should be aware of,
including evacuation or building lock-down procedures.
- Consider establishing an alternate method for
your phone service if the switchboard becomes unusable (e.g. forwarding
incoming calls to a cell phone or remote number).