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Fire at our facility - best practices out there?

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  • Fire at our facility - best practices out there?

    We had a fire overnight at our facility with one building of the 6 being heavily damaged. We are trying to navigate best practices with tenants on having to move, or moving out, or staying in their unit, etc. If your facility has dealt with a fire we would appreciate any insight on how you dealt with tenants in the affected area. Thank you, thank you for any help!

  • #2
    I am so sorry! What a mess. A manager's nightmare for sure. I'm sure the fire dept told you to keep everyone out until it's safe?
    Even duct-tape can't fix stupid. But it can muffle the noises.

    WA State

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    • #3
      Haven't had to deal with a fire... but I manage the one facility wrecked by the 2014 Napa earthquake. That was a nightmare. Biggest complaint from my customers regarding our actions was no immediate notification. I urge you to contact the affected customers and even neighboring spaces that might have smoke/water damage. Good luck to you.

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      • #4
        WOW, my worst nightmare as a manager. Im so sorry your having to deal with this. I have never experienced the process, but I would imagine contacting all those affected ASAP would be first priority so they can get their affairs in order with their insurance providers. If access to the property is being denied to all tenants due to unsafe conditions then I would send a email out to all customers and post a sign at the gate explaining why, be prepared to offer some sort of concession for the inconvenience and loss of access. I hope you get it all squared away soon, good luck!
        You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

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        • #5
          Collect as much data, video, pictures and information (gate entry and exit logs, etc.) as you can. Be careful who you give that to - I would get a GM approval, Owner (legal rep of the owner) approval before you release to anyone outside the company and that approval needs to be in writing. Insurance companies will be looking to place blame - so data, such as fire protection inspections and the such will be looked at. Informing the tenants is a big one, since they will need to start a list of items lost and damaged and their emotions will run the gamut, from anger to blame, to sadness and despair.

          You might look into some temporary overnight security or rope off the area to keep tenants and others from poking around the debris. I would go through that building units in the computer and think about moving the email into the notes and moving the next due or setting rents to $0. You really do not want customers who belongings are gone getting invoices, rent notices, etc.

          You might want to set up some temp passcodes/gate codes or assign some to the different agency's and companies that will be on-site. Keep a log of the codes given out and who they were attached to - get business cards if possible. To give you a little breathing room from people coming into the office to be let in/out.

          You might have to think about bathroom usage and availability - especially if you only have one for customers. If that is the same bathroom that the relief manager uses, how often will it be cleaned (do you have enough available disinfecting products, etc.). You do not want your relief to get ill and bring any illness into the office. Do you need a port-a-potty onsite for the time being? A temporary wash station?

          You might have to schedule dates and times for tenants to show up to take pictures, notes, etc - do you plan to walk/escort them out there? Does the company need to hire temporary extra staff or move someone over from a sister facility? It can be a mess when they all show up at once. Have a map of that building so they can highlight their unit location and include contact information. Keep track of who you escorted out there. Do you need something on the website so tenants can upload their own pictures of damage?

          Do you need extra dumpsters and pick-up's? Customers will be mad if you make them haul water, smoked damaged items in their vehicles. Do you need to have some extra on-site for tenant use?

          Do you need to hold-out vacants units, not just for transfers, but to create somekind of sorting area for tenants? They will have some garbage cans and boxes for use and a table and chairs and have tarps or heavy paper on the floor, so tenants can spend a few hours to sort through items that might have survived.

          It sounds like nobody was injured, which is a blessing!! I understand this is a difficult and stressful time. Just take one day at a time, take big projects and break them into smaller projects - you will make it.

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