Welcome back to our list of 8 Essential Elements that belong in every disaster plan. As a recap, we believe there are 8 Essential Elements that every disaster plan should have, so your team has the information they need to respond quickly, accurately, and confidently.
Last week we reviewed building out your Utility Shut Off list, Evacuation Plans, Command Centers and Relocations. It was packed with a ton of great information, so if you’d like to read the full article, click here.
Jumping right back in, this blog will cover building out these four essential elements to a good disaster plan: Alarm Systems, Vendors, Call Lists and Community Resources.
# 5 – Alarm Systems
No two properties are identical, so alarm systems (such as fire or security alarms) will likely vary in panel location, pass-codes, and operations. Alarm systems are important – and the best disaster plans makes the do’s and don’ts crystal clear.
- Document where the alarm panels are located. Like your shut offs, you want to empower whoever is on site to find the panel, diagnose the issue and take the proper next step.
- List the locations and instruction for use. Clarify if a special code is needed to disarm or rearm them.
- Make sure instructions and actions are noted to REARM the system, after the alarm has been stopped/disarmed.
- Is your fire alarm only allowed to be disarmed by the fire department or the alarm company? Make sure this is clear to the staff and included in your disaster plan.
- Is the code to the security alarm panel different for each staff member? Is the code meant to be kept confidential amongst staff only? Make sure the plan specifies these details or includes a bypass code that can be shared with everyone.
# 6 – Vendors
Listing your vendors and their contact information …. ESPECIALLY those that might be of assistance after hours and those who regularly deal with disasters…. is an important part of your disaster plan.
SecureCore Pro Tip: Wondering where to begin? Consider who you may need to call to get back to normal after an emergency. Think about your restoration company, alarm company, electrician, plumber, security system vendor, or carpet supplier. Most of the vendors you typically use for these services already know your building and your preferences as a client – you want to make sure your staff knows to engage them in an emergency, so your needs are met.
Ideal information to include:
- Vendor Name
- Industry (ex: HVAC, Plumber, Restoration Company)
- Emergency Contact Number (do you have a dedicated rep? or is there an 800# for after hours?)
- Who is authorized and assigned to contact vendors during the emergency? Spell this out in the plan so actions can be taken quickly, and resources can be deployed.
Something to consider – if the vendors you normally use and may need in an emergency happening after-hours or on the weekend – only work during normal business hours – do you need an alternate vendor listed for after-hours emergencies? Make sure this is clearly defined in your plan, if so.
One last thing – but an important one: Keep the vendor list of your disaster plan up to date! Audit this whenever you make a vendor change.
#7 – Call List
The Call List portion of your disaster plan should list the essential “phone tree” – who needs to be notified and in what order when an emergency happens. Depending on your company’s hierarchy and roles and responsibilities, you may have a list of people to call at the corporate office, or perhaps a regional office. If you manage a condominium building, you may have to notify the Board of Directors of any property emergency.
SecureCore Pro Tip: Include a list of names and phone numbers for the property staff here, too. An emergency can happen anytime – so you might need to notify people who are not working when it does occur… you may even need the staff to report to the building to assist. Having the staff contact information included here would help save time versus searching for numbers.
Make sure your call list defines:
- Who to call and their function (ex: property staff, regional manager who can assist and should report on site, etc.)
- How and when to know if you need to call them (ex: MUST call to notify, call to assist on site, etc.)
- Contact information (cell phone numbers are key)
An example of an effective call list entry might look like:
- Keanu Reeves – Maintenance Director, Regional Office – 410-555-5555
*Call immediately to notify about emergency. Can assist on site, if needed*
- Sandra Bullock – Board President, Smith Condominiums – 410-555-5555
*Call during normal business hours to notify about emergency*
#8 – Community Resources
A robust disaster plan will include local community resources and contact information. Did you know that in an average year, The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 home fires? These numbers include apartment and condominium building fires. Did you also know that The Red Cross has local offices and local volunteers throughout the US?
Did you know that The Red Cross isn’t the only entity with local offices and resources? The United Way, the EPA, and state offices of the Emergency Management Agency all exist in a local capacity.
SecureCore Pro Tip: Not sure where to begin? The community resource section of your disaster plan should include a list of local resources that you may need to call on when facing an emergency. This would help save precious time when dealing with an emergency and looking for help from the nearby resources.
In this section, you may want to include:
- Your local Red Cross Chapter (click here to find your local chapter: American Red Cross Near Me | Find Your Local Red Cross)
- Your local EPA Chapter
- Your state’s Emergency Management Agency
- FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
- Your local United Way Chapter
- The closest Fire Station
- The closest Police Station
- The closest Hospital
- The closest animal control resource
Conclusion: Now that we have covered the 8 Essential Elements of a good disaster plan, we hope you feel more prepared to tackle creating your own, or maybe even enlisting help from a company like SecureCore to take an existing plan to the next level with a digital version.