For a property manager or management company, few things are more important than the safety of the individuals on a property. Unfortunately, the world is full of risks, which means that they must be accounted for—and more often than not, a property manager ends up responsible for everyone’s safety. Since this is the case, it is incredibly important to have a plan in place for every kind of emergency. Keeping your staff and residents safe is a matter of the highest priority. Fortunately, with the right approach, you can ensure that everyone on your property is safe when disaster strikes.
The Importance of On-Site Safety
In the majority of cases, on-site safety is not just a matter of personal or moral obligation. It is also a legal matter. As a property manager, you assume some degree of liability regarding what happens on your property. Whether there is a fire, a natural disaster, or criminal activity, you will be responsible for keeping tenants and staff safe. Having the appropriate security measures in place can be the difference between safe and happy residents and an expensive lawsuit.
Making sure that there are appropriate security measures in place can help you to rest easy knowing that the individuals on-site are completely protected. While disasters cannot always be avoided, they can be mitigated with the right safety measures. It is better to have a plan for your tenants and staff to remain safe than to try to manage it when something goes wrong.
Potential Safety Threats
Safety threats come in all shapes and sizes. While you won’t be able to prevent every potential safety threat, you can certainly ensure that your residents have the tools to navigate a threat when necessary. In most cases, threats are caused by environmental factors, unexpected accidents, or even criminals. Having a plan in place to navigate these threats can make a large difference in the outcome.
While fires are less common now than they were before, they do still happen. Kitchen fires, electrical fires, and even gas fires can occur on a property. Depending on how the property was built, fires might be a bigger or smaller risk. Regardless, ensuring that everyone can safely exit the building in the event of a fire is crucial. Pairing this with adequate detection systems can save lives.
The weather is always changing, and we cannot always guarantee which way it will go. Depending on the location of your property, there might be more or less risks from the environment. Inclement weather can bring about a wide range of safety concerns. Poor weather can lead to power failure, cause physical threats to individuals, or even just put someone at risk of slipping. Being prepared for the outcomes that poor weather can bring is important whether it means ensuring that your tenants let their faucets drip in winter or that they know where to go in the event of a tornado.
Try as we might, accidents do happen. Your tenants will always be a bit unpredictable. More importantly, they can be influenced by unpredictable external factors. Eventually, you will have a tenant that has an accident. While you might not be able to prevent the accident, you can ensure that there are procedures in place to help manage it after the fact.
Accidents are not always as simple as someone slipping on a staircase or a bit of ice. In reality, accidents come in all different forms and can be a lot to prepare for. There is always the potential that something might happen to a resident in their own home. In this case, it is important that you or your staff can ensure that the individual gets the help that they need when something goes wrong.
Criminal activity is a consistent and ongoing threat. There is simply no way to completely protect against it. In reality, criminal activity can come in bursts, occur during different times of the year, and might pose a wide range of threats. It might be that a criminal breaks into an apartment home or that someone is stealing packages from front doors. Regardless, your tenant’s confidence in your building will be determined by how well you can protect them from these crimes. Being able to keep criminal activity low is crucial.
How to Build a Safer Community
Building a safe community is about more than just design. A safe community is something that is achieved by preparedness. With the right plans in place, you will be able to keep your community safe no matter what problems arise.
Basic Security Measures
As a general rule, every property manager should ensure that basic safety measures are in place. This means making sure that every lock works, that the property is secure against strangers, and that there are systems in place to catch any issues should they present themselves. These basic security measures are considered the bare minimum and should be your first step in a more comprehensive security plan.
Common Measures Include:
- Locking Doors and Windows
- Smoke Detectors
- Building Keys or Fobs
- Security Cameras
- First-Aid Kits
The reality is that—try as we might—we cannot predict or prevent an emergency. However, with a proper plan in place, an emergency can become a much smaller problem. Every property should have emergency tools and plans in place in the event that something goes wrong. Being prepared for common emergency types is a standard that every property manager should strive for.
There are different types of emergencies that might be influenced by the building or the area. In general, you will want to prepare for flooding, fires, freezes, and other common concerns. Being prepared for these outcomes will help you to keep damage to a minimum. If everyone knows that there is a plan in place, recovering from the emergency will be much easier.
Dedicated Action Plans
Action plans are the steps that you, your team, and your residents will take in the event of an emergency. A good plan should have clear goals, easy-to-follow directives, and any necessary tools. Your action plan will vary depending on the event or emergency, which is why there is a need for multiple action plans that cover each potential outcome.
An action plan can be as simple as ensuring that the door is open for police when they arrive, or it might be more complex like how to evacuate a building in the event of a fire or flood. Make sure that your action plan includes all necessary details and can easily be located by those responsible for executing the plan.
When it comes to instilling confidence in your tenants, nothing works better than on-site security. While not every property has dedicated security, more property managers are hiring security teams to patrol the property during hours when the leasing office or its equivalent is closed. These trained professionals can spot unusual activity, work with police during an emergency, or even address tenant concerns in real-time.
In addition to meeting general security needs, an on-site security team can also help you to improve upon your security procedures. A good security team will help you to take a custom approach to keeping your property secure and everyone safe. With their help, you can create more effective security plans for each potential risk.
Working with a Security Company
Choosing to work with a security company is a great way to ensure that your security procedures are well-designed. These groups can bring you and your tenants a lot of comfort, which is why so many property managers are now working with security professionals.
What to Expect
While every security group is different, there are some common outcomes that you can expect. In most cases, your security company will begin by reviewing the property and creating a risk mitigation model that is custom-tailored to suit your needs. The group will help you to address potential concerns and begin working on protocols to ensure the safety of everyone on the property.
A good security group is worth their weight in gold. By working with a security group, you will be able to ensure that there are experts creating your plans who know how to manage emergencies. As a bonus, having on-site security is also a promotional feature for property owners. Tenants really appreciate the comfort of knowing that the property and residents are completely secure. In fact, some property owners use this to increase rent prices since it is an additional perk of living on the property. This empowers property owners to make the cost of their security team back with ease.
Every property owner is responsible for the well-being of people on their property. By having the right protections in place, you can absolve yourself of liability, protect your property, and ensure the safety of your tenants, as well as any visitors. There are so many benefits to creating a comprehensive security plan and absolutely no risks associated with this approach. For the safety and security of your property as well as your residents, take the time to create a plan that works for you. When in doubt, a good security team can help you to find the solutions that you need to guarantee everyone’s safety.