See How to Develop and Communicate a Community Emergency Preparedness PlanOn any given day, a New York City multifamily building can be vulnerable to any number of emergency situations. Although planning is a critical first step, training, drills, regular testing of building safety features and equipment and a commitment to regularly revisiting the plan to ensure its current are all important emergency preparedness tools.

In our last article concerning the need for having an Emergency Preparedness Plan in place for your building, we discussed various strategies for effectively preparing your building, your staff, and your residents for any eventuality, as well as how a great property management company can help you do that. Here, we’ll elaborate upon the basics of developing and implementing an Emergency Preparedness Plan, and walk you through how to successfully communicate your plan building-wide.

Master Emergency Contact List

Regardless of training and preparations, when an emergency arises, it can be easy for communications to breakdown. To prevent that from happening, work on consistently maintaining a master emergency contact list for your entire community, including a list of residents with special needs, and pairing it with a reliable resident alert system that sends automated email, phone and text messages to residents in an emergency. It is just as important to take note of apartments with elderly residents or those who may not be technologically integrated. To support this strategy, you should consider appointing Floor Monitors who can offer their capabilities to assist in all types of emergency situations.

Building Emergency Team

Assembling a Building Emergency Team, comprised of board members, the superintendent, building security personnel and resident volunteers, is an excellent way to lead communication and plan deployment before, during and after an emergency. Your Building Emergency Team can also be tasked with spearheading continued communication efforts to residents throughout the year.

A proactive and experienced property management company can collaborate with and assist your Building Emergency Team in conducting regular safety drills and hosting periodic meetings to educate the community on the building’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, as well as update residents on changes to emergency procedures.

Arranging for informational presentations by your local office of emergency management and fire department is another educational avenue to explore. This not only provides residents with useful information, but also helps them feel more secure.

Printed Guide Book

While creating a customized Emergency Preparedness Plan is smart and necessary, there is more work to be done. You must also effectively communicate the contents and procedures in your plan to all residents in your community, as well as to building staff and management.

The number one way to ensure resident buy-in and awareness of the plan is to disseminate a guidebook with all relevant contact numbers, and instructions on how to react to any type of emergency.

You can distribute the plan as an email attachment which can also contain links to demonstration or instructional videos. This can help residents visualize and better understand the plan and building procedures. Consider, based on your community, having some hard copies available for residents who aren’t technologically savvy.  Also make sure to post procedures in all common areas of your property, such as any conspicuous locations or areas like the lobby, mail room, etc.

An Emergency Preparedness Plan, and the effective communication of one, can mean the difference between an emergency situation that escalates into a crisis and one that is resolved efficiently and effectively.

Remember to check back with us continuously, and stay tuned for more important tips surrounding Emergency Preparedness Plans. Contact FirstService Residential and we’ll walk you through how to get started.

To receive our upcoming of Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Multifamily Properties, fill out the form below:

Wednesday November 16, 2016