When you own or manage a commercial property or business, you have a lot of responsibilities—and one of those tasks is to protect the property, tenants, and employees during disasters. The rains and historic flooding that struck Oklahoma earlier in 2019 are an example of how quickly and surprisingly a disaster can arise. Add fires, burst pipes, mold growth, crimes, and other issues to the list of things that can go wrong, and it’s easy to see why planning ahead before an emergency occurs makes a lot of sense.
For commercial property owners who don’t plan ahead, the recovery process can be complicated and time-consuming—interrupting the flow of business. But with the help of a professional property restoration company like TRILINK, you can establish a recovery plan, get needed assistance, recover fast, and get back to normal as soon as possible.
Our team of experts has put together a handy list of tips to help you form a recovery plan that protects your Oklahoma commercial property and the people who occupy it.
Preparing for an Emergency
A disaster can strike your commercial property at any time, but acting fast can mitigate the damage and save you time, hassles, and money. Planning ahead is key to helping you act quickly and protect the property.
Recognize your responsibilities
As a commercial or rental property owner/manager, you have legal obligations to tenants, and you may face liabilities as well, particularly if you are not prepared to handle emergencies.
Don’t leave this area unaddressed. Do your research and get professional advice—including legal, insurance and human resources input, as well as the advice of a restoration company—to be sure you have covered your bases.
Make a plan for the most common emergencies
Take time to think about and write out a formal plan of action for each of these types of problems that can arise on a commercial property:
- Water damage — This is one of the most frequent causes of property damage, and it can result from storms, roof leaks, burst pipes, flooding, HVAC leaks, sewage backups, and other sources of unexpected moisture.
- Fire — Whether it’s an intentional act of arson, a lightning strike, or an electrical mishap, a fire results in heat, flame, smoke, and water damage.
- Mold — In Oklahoma’s moist environment, mold is an extremely common problem that can render a property unhealthy.
- Lost valuables — Disasters usually affect not just the building structure but the property inside it — documents, jewelry, electronics, furniture, flooring, and more.
- Crimes/trauma — These situations are tragic, and they usually leave behind damage that must be cleaned up.
- Storms/natural disasters — In Oklahoma, we face tornadoes, hail, lightning, strong winds, flooding, and other weather disasters that can cause many problems for property owners.
Notify tenants of what to do in an emergency
Whether your property is a business, residential complex, hospitality or medical facility, educational institution, or some other form of commercial space, be sure that everyone who regularly accesses the property knows what to do in a disaster situation.
It’s absolutely essential to do all you can to help people stay safe. Putting a clear plan in place before an emergency arises is a key part of doing so.
Provide written documentation
Give tenants, maintenance crews, and management personnel an emergency checklist that includes:
- Who to notify when a problem arises and how to reach them
- Evacuation routes and procedures
- How to account for everyone — tenants, guests, etc.
- Who handles critical tasks before the property is vacated, and what those critical tasks are
- Who is trained and able to offer first aid
- Alarm codes for those who may need them
- Where tenants, employees, and visitors can take shelter, such as in case of a tornado
Ensure clear communication
In addition to written documentation and plans, it’s important to communicate clearly and quickly during an emergency. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
- Is it safe to remain on the property, or is it necessary to evacuate?
- Are there areas of the property to avoid?
- When is it safe for people to return to the property?
- What alternatives will you provide (if any) for tenants who can’t get back into their space right away?
What to Do After the Emergency Has Ended
In the immediate aftermath of any disaster, you’ll have several tasks to take care of in order to get your commercial property up and running again. It can help to have a checklist of tasks that are common after an emergency, such as:
- Cleanup and removal of hazardous materials, such as chemical spills or mold
- Addressing downed power lines
- Removal of fallen trees and other debris
- Verifying that the property is structurally sound before tenants go back in
- Rescue and restoration of valuables, such as documents and electronic equipment
- Needed repairs to return the property to safe, working order
Invest in an Emergency Restoration Plan
Just thinking about everything involved in getting a commercial property restored and back to normal can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there’s a solution that helps commercial property owners, property managers, and landlords protect buildings, keep tenants and employees safe, restore damage, and get back to normal fast. It’s called a Commercial Emergency Restoration Management (Commercial ERM) plan.
Here’s why you should invest in a Commercial ERM plan:
- Ensures you get a comprehensive, priority response from your restoration company—24/7
- Reduces recovery costs because the plan is already in place
- Gets your commercial property back on its feet as quickly as possible
- Faster restoration helps minimize business downtime
- Helps ensure tenant and employee safety
- Increases the likelihood valuable documents and property will be rescued
- Lessens stress because many decisions have been made in advance
Make a Plan Today—with Expert Assistance
Our team of disaster recovery experts at TRILINK can help you put together a Commercial Emergency Restoration Management Plan (Commercial ERM Plan) that safeguards your property and provides tenant and employee safety—so you can get back your business. Start your commercial profile with us today, so you can be prepared for emergencies and get Oklahoma storm disaster restoration that gives you peace of mind.