Are you prepared for emergencies?

How prepared are you?

Inclement weather and other natural disasters are better braved with a plan and preparation rather than spur of the moment actions. The past several years has exhibited many challenges in the form of natural disasters for the multi-family management industry. This leaves us asking, “What are some things we can do today to better prepare for tomorrow?”.
The information below is designed to be a guideline, and a proactive approach to emergency response planning that can be taken now to prepare for an emergency later.

Step 1: Review your Property Risk Assessment

Multifamily apartment communities not only have risks associated with daily operations, but they also have larger potential emergency situations to prepare for. Both categories can be looked at in similar ways, but may be approached differently. Performing an emergency response risk assessment outside of your typical property risk assessment will help zero in on potentially larger catastrophic emergency situations. Some of these are:

  • Fire
  • Earthquake
  • Tornado/Hurricanes
  • Along with all the side effects such as power loss, high wind damages, personal safety, etc.

At Buyers Access™, we recommend that management companies have a well-rounded understanding regarding their insurance companies’ expectations and coverage’s when it comes to natural disasters and emergency response situations.

Step 2: Identify Region Specific Natural Hazards

If you are in a certain region of the country, chances are there are specific natural threats that your community faces. For example, if your property is in Miami, Florida, preparing for hurricanes, flooding, and heavy winds could reveal potential opportunities for risk elimination. Those in the northern part of the country may have blizzards and snow storms to worry about in the winter months. Keeping these ideas in mind, a higher focus on potential damage and liability involved with the specific risk condition can help your team gear up for potentially larger disasters.

Step 3: Update the Emergency Response Plan

The service team and community manager along with any other support teams/partners such as Buyers Access™, should walk the property to look for all specific risks, and document all potential risk factors. Contact Buyers Access™ and work with our team to develop a specific plan for any necessary supplies needed, such as generators, first aid supplies, storm shutters, etc. Make sure to always have plenty of drinking water available in case of loss of power or damaged plumbing. What other things should you think of to include in the plan?

Step 4: Draft or Update the Emergency Response Plan

When drafting the emergency response plan, below are a few questions to ask and points to consider making your plan as complete and comprehensive as possible.

  1.  Alarms, where are they located and how will they be shut off
  2. Emergency call list- make sure this is always up to date
  3. Command Centers- where will everyone report to, and when?
  4. What is the communication plan to residents?
  5. What community resources are available for your team to use and what is their contact information?
  6. What are the evacuation routes?
  7. Ensure hazardous materials are safely stored.
  8. Identify areas of relocation.
  9. Have a list of vendor contacts easily accessible to save valuable time in case of an emergency.
  10. Know where your utility shut offs are! Mark a property map with utility shut offs and electrical points of importance for everyone to know.
  11. Review and include a copy of any corporate specific policies and procedures having to do with emergency response.
  12. Finally, review the above with your entire team and ensure everyone has access to and knows where this information is kept, and how it is accessed.

Time to act!

Now that we have covered some emergency response plan and natural disaster basics, it’s time to apply some of the points at your property with your team. If you are a supplier, ask yourself what you can do to ensure the properties you call on are prepared for emergencies? Buyers Access™ assists suppliers and multifamily properties in determining their needs and solutions every day nationwide. Some of the most prepared properties are those utilizing the extensive resources of supplier management and purchasing optimization that Buyers Access™ can provide. If you are interested in learning more about Buyers Access and how we can help you and your emergency response processes, contact our Ken Miller, VP of Sales for Buyers Access™ at