On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, it’s important to recognize how inclement weather and treacherous storms can impact communities.
Here at Rent Manager®, we know that property management can be a bit of a whirlwind in-and-of-itself, so we’ve put together some ideas to help keep you and your residents covered as winter begins.
From disaster kits to winterizing practices, make sure your property is ready when power outages or storms strike. With the right measures taken, you will better-ensure your tenants’ safety… and your peace-of-mind.
Winter Storm Basics
If you live in the land of ice and snow, make sure you’re prepared for Father Winter’s arrival. With these basics on hand, you’ll keep your residents safer on walkways and roads and warm inside their homes.
What You Need:
–A complete emergency supply kit (note the complete here)
–Salt or ice-melting product (consider an eco-friendly variety like Green Earth Ice Melter)
–Sand (to help with traction)
–Snow removal equipment (shovels are always helpful!)
–Supply of dry firewood and/or sufficient heating fuel (keep folks warm in case of an outage)
These are the basics, so gathering these supplies and confirming that each property has them on-premises should be a no-brainer. Consider supplying the basics for your residents as a measure of goodwill, and instantly improve their emergency preparedness.
Speaking of caring about your properties’ and tenants’ safety, a communications plan (or a variation on FEMA’s Family Emergency Plan) provides information about what to expect during an emergency. By having a plan in place, your residents will know how to safely shut off utilities, use escape routes (if necessary), and find any other vital information that should be conveyed during an urgent situation. Good communication can be crucial for everyone’s safety on your properties.
Bottom line: Gather your thoughts and talk to your staff about best practices and procedures. What is the protocol during storms or other vulnerable circumstances? When updates are needed, devise and design a new plan (that builds off of the old), and THEN communicate with your renters.
Tip! Use email messages to communicate your emergency/storm plan, and place flyers in common spaces and mailboxes in an effort not to miss anyone!
Gathering canned goods, flashlights, batteries, matches, and water is the next step in preparing your communities for the unexpected. Think about buying these items in bulk and stocking them at each property. It’s an investment that will help everyone feel more equipped when the next power outage or storm strikes.
After you’ve accomplished the supply tasks, consider the ideas below as you continue to prep your properties…
–Get Alerts: make sure you sign up for text alerts from your state and local utility companies.
–Hotel Info: keep track of local hotels’ distress rates in case of an evacuation at your property. It’s important to know what’s available for your renters in case they are displaced.
–Assemble Toy Kits: put together toy kits for those residents with little ones. It will help everyone to keep the children calm and occupied in case of an emergency.
–Establish a Chain of Communication with your staff: get your employees on-board regarding the preferred method(s) of contacting each other’phone, text, and/or email.
–Stock Pet Supplies: stock each property with pet food and supplies including litter, plastic bags, newspaper, and potty pads. If residents’ pets need to stay indoors for an extended period of time, you can pre-emptively manage the odor, mess, and irritability for everyone.
–Keep Your Camera On Hand: photographing any damage to your properties, residents’ vehicles, etc., can be invaluable when clean-up time comes.
As winter creeps up on us and inclement weather becomes more likely, remember that being prepared is the best approach to safety at your properties. By taking precautions, both you and your residents will feel more secure and ready to weather whatever comes your way.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, London Computer Systems (LCS) is a developer of business-critical software technologies used in all 50 states and several markets throughout the world. LCS products include Rent Manager property management and accounting software, Net Dial Tone (NDT) VoIP telephone systems, and Sentry Data Backup strategies.
LCS also provides enterprise-level hosting solutions via its Sentry Data Center; complete network design, implementation, and support services; custom website design; and more. With over 17,000 customers, LCS combines best technology with best practices to create a unique, customer-focused service.
For more information about LCS and its products, click here.