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Sentry Commercial Property Management Division’s 10 Tips for Your Emergency Procedures Manual

Commercial property owners and managers can’t take it for granted that emergency procedures will be widely known or adhered to when the need arises.

That’s why it’s imperative to create an “emergency procedures manual” for the management and employees of your properties.

This becomes the basis for the plan of action that keeps tenants and properties safe while also ensuring that regulatory statutes are adhered to and owners and representatives avoid liability.

Here are 10 critical tips that rank high within any emergency procedures manual

1. While fire extinguisher inspections are a given, it’s important the manual includes locations and procedures for safe use, such as when to use and when not to use them.

2. In addition to signs being posted for extinguisher locations and exits, a map of your building with exit and fire extinguisher locations should also be included in your manual.

3. Defined evacuation procedures and the designated onsite personnel who will conduct the evacuation and/or coordinate with emergency services are key.

4. Procedures during electrical outages where protocols for things like stranded elevators/passengers, procedures in adverse weather conditions, handling health emergencies and tenant/emergency services communication protocols are vital to both tenant safety and owner liability.

5. Go beyond posted routes and procedures during electrical outages and adverse events i.e. fire) to outline procedures for assisting those with mobility and health conditions.

6. Manuals should include all points of electrical, gas ,and water shutoff in the event of emergencies like fire, flooding and other incidents.

7. Well-defined protocols for handling and reporting injuries to staff, tenants, and visitors. This includes protocols based on injury type and severity. This is critically important for insurance and liability purposes.

8. Manuals should include updated onsite personnel with first aid training and the locations of stocked first aid kits.

9. Designated personnel should be instructed on how to deal with criminal activity. This includes emergency service contact numbers, protocols for dealing with tenant and occupant safety and designated safe spaces.

10. Designate procedures for tornado and hurricane evacuation to onsite or community designated shelters with information and procedures for designated civilian supervisors and transport if necessary.

Not every scenario or possible emergency can be predicted or covered in your emergency procedures manual, but creating policies for the most common types of occurrences can help make sure you and your staff are prepared!

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