When it comes to handling weather-related or other emergencies at a commercial property, being proactive is just as important as implementing an effective post-event response. Alfred Sanzari Enterprises, one of New Jersey’s most active real estate development firms, views a hands-on approach to emergency preparedness as a priority.
“Weather events during the past year have brought property management responsibilities to a new level. We know emergencies can strike at any time and with little – or no – warning,” said Dave Cali, vice-president of property management. “One of the best defenses against such emergencies is close communication with tenants and a well thought out preparedness plan.”
In the aftermath of natural disasters, reoccupying commercial buildings and returning to “business as normal” is a priority. Generators are an integral part of the preparedness process when power interruptions are anticipated.
“If not properly maintained, a generator may fail to operate when it’s needed most. We regularly test and maintain all emergency generators to ensure they are in good working order,” said Cali.
In the case of weather events that have “lead time,” extra preparations can be valuable as well. Alfred Sanzari Enterprises has contracted with a leading heating, ventilating and air conditioning company to acquire temporary generators and supplemental HVAC units as future emergencies arise.
Day-to-day measures also can minimize commercial property damage that’s typical with heavy rain or winter storms. “We routinely inspect/clean roof and ground drains before and after a major weather event to make sure surfaces are clear of debris. Our buildings’ sump pumps also are tested and maintained on a recurring schedule,” said Cali.
Additionally, emergency supply containers are stored throughout Alfred Sanzari Enterprises’ commercial portfolio, and include fuel and life safety items such as blankets, flashlights, water, first-aid kits, batteries and flares.
OPENING THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION
Beyond physical measures, a carefully structured communication network is equally important in disaster preparedness. When confronted with unexpected damage and widespread power outages posed by Superstorm Sandy, property owners and managers realized the importance of being able to reach employees and tenants in a timely manner.
Alfred Sanzari Enterprises has since implemented Send Word Now, a portfolio-wide emergency notification system designed to quickly disseminate information about its properties, safety procedures and related content. As future property-related issues arise, commercial tenants and employees will be informed via real-time phone, email and text messaging.
“We’re constantly evaluating what we can do to better prepare for major weather events and other emergencies. Following Superstorm Sandy, existing and new tenants have stressed the importance of well-structured communication. Send Word Now is a very reliable system that allows us to significantly improve communication with our entire tenant base in times of crisis,” said Cali.