Emergency preparation is about thinking ahead. We have all seen how that “that’ll probably never happen” attitude has worked out at one point or another. Bottom line is that preparation means lower costs when the inevitable does happen. A power outage may not seem like a disaster, but it can have serious impacts on your property and especially your tenants. Develop a plan so that you are left in the dark.
You never know when a power outage is going to strike but there are a few possible suspects that you may want to take care of. Fallen trees and old machinery are two repeat offenders when it comes to making buildings lose power. Take care to update your machinery and check up on it to avoid shortages. Also, monitor the trees around your property and their relation to wires. Take down or trim any older trees that look like they could cause problems. This is also the time for a risk assessment. Gather information about your tenants and their businesses’ ability to operate during an outage. Do they need to close? Can they still produce goods? Are there perishables at risk? Knowing your tenant’s plans will help you prioritize and provide better aid when an outage occurs.
Once you have a base knowledge, it is time develop a written plan. As with all emergency preparedness it needs to cover everyone who could possibly be in the building (tenants, guests, admin), have a clear chain of communication and contain information about any first-responders. Your plan should address such factors as: payroll recovery, transportation for tenants, security and access to the building, backup power, stored drinking water or communications. The advice for countering most of these items in an outage is backup.backup.backup.
Once the plan is written, it needs to be spread. Hold employee awareness sessions, run a power outage drill and make the plan available to all tenants. Practice whatever communication tree you have decided on and make sure each employee knows their role in the event of an emergency. Creating checklists for tenants, employees and systems is a great way to efficiently asses any outage situations you may encounter. After the outage, ensure safety of tenants and staff, count any losses that may have occurred and make sure the source of the outage was identified and the problem resolved. If the cause of the outage was something around or on the property, begin at step one with more preventative maintenance. Tenant safety is important, and no one likes feeling like they don’t know what to do in the event of an emergency. So, the next time your yearly safety discussions come up, make sure power outages make it on the list.