It seems that large-scale disasters are becoming more common. Earlier this year, Oklahoma City was struck by a tornado that destroyed thousands of homes, schools and commercial buildings. Before that, Hurricane Sandy washed away communities along the New York-New Jersey shoreline, causing $50 billion in damages.
Whether it is flooding, storms, fires or other types of disasters, building managers need to take steps to protect their properties. Unfortunately, this may become harder as funding levels and regulations continue to change. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reported that the amount of federal assistance available to states for emergency preparedness dropped by more than $55 million this year.
Risk assessment is a vital part of preventing and recovering from disasters. Building managers should routinely update their plans to account for changes in funding or regulations. Otherwise, companies could face challenges like those seen by victims of the Oklahoma City tornado. Local television station KWTV-DT reported that Oklahoma City homeowners are being told they can’t rebuild their homes because of changes to Oklahoma City’s flood ordinance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently updated its charts for flood zones. Homes that were built 15 years ago are now in flood zones and in violation of the city’s laws, which stated that homes could not be located in floodways.
Commercial buildings could find themselves in the same situation if they fail to check changes to local and national regulations. Changes to zoning laws could prevent renovations and expansion or even increase insurance costs. Keeping risk management strategies current is an effective way to ensure that any potential problems are avoided.
Companies are always at risk of natural disasters, so they need to take steps to ensure a speedy recovery. Outlining tenants’ responsibilities before, during and after an emergency can help property managers get through the situation with minimal difficulties. Facility managers should regularly address issues with occupants to ensure smooth communication during the recovery process. Having an effective plan will help all parties get back on track quickly.
Prepare for the next hurdle