Hurricane Ian left its mark across Florida, in both hearts and minds, especially among the residents of Southwest Florida who continue to rebuild. Going forward, our biggest lesson learned will be taking a step back to acknowledge successes, recognize missteps and determine new protocols for future challenges we will face.
PREPARATION AND PLANNING
Your company’s response to a storm plays a key role in how fast you recover. Start by identifying business exposures to specific hazards in and around your facility. Run hypothetical scenarios to test what works and what doesn’t work, and adjust accordingly. Employees should be assigned specific responsibilities pre- and post-disaster. Employees should also be cross trained across markets to pitch in where needed. Run drills to build confidence; this will reduce the stress and limit mishaps in an actual emergency.
OFFICE BUILDING PROCEDURES PRE/POST STORM
Your management company should have a pre-checklist countdown timeline (72 hours through landfall) of when major utility components to the building will be shut down, elevators raised and doors with electronic systems secured in the event of evacuations and/or potential for storm surge. Your management team should also have a post-storm checklist to bring the office building back online. Just because your building has power and water does not mean it’s structurally safe for tenants to resume normal business operations. Not all damage is visible. Part of the tenant education process is not only ensuring your tenants understand the building’s protocols before the storm so they can respond accordingly, but also what guidelines to follow after the storm.
BUSINESS ASSETS & REPLACEMENT COST
Know the average cost of your major assets. This should include replacement costs of your building, roof, mechanical equipment, signage and overall contents. Understand how your insurance deductible works. If you have a deductible of 3% and your building value is $10 million, you will be responsible for the first $300,000 in damages. Knowing this figure ahead of time will assist in determining whether you file a claim, which can easily take four to six months to reconcile.
Your network is your family.Your co-workers, tenants, patients, shoppers, vendors, friends and even your neighbors become an extension of not just your personal recovery after a devastating event, but also your business.Be willing to lend a hand whenever and wherever possible. As we’ve all certainly discovered, there are no shortcuts on the path to recovery.Each day is a journey, and we are all taking these steps together.As the old proverb goes, “Smooth seas do not make skilled sailors.”
Mary Gentile, CRX, CSM, is president of LandQwest Property Management, LLC. She has 25+ years of commercial real estate experience and is active with ICSC, IREM, BOMA, NAWIC and CREW. Gentile is a member of the Lee County Horizon Council and is a NOAA Weather Ambassador. Contact Gentile at 239-464-3277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org