CRISIS MANAGEMENT – ARE YOU READY?
I recently had to deal with a major flood that occurred on a Sunday afternoon involving (6) floors in a 17-story mixed-use commercial building that I manage. In case you are wondering, the source of the leak was from a tenant installed water machine. Luckily, a few months ago our company arranged for a “Property Manager’s Lunch & Learn” with J.C. Restoration at their facility in Rolling Meadows. I was extremely impressed with their operations and the facility which we toured but it did not occur to me at the time that I would be calling them in the near future to respond to a crisis in my building. I guess you can say that, “Everything happens for a reason”! When you are dealing with this much water damage you have to act quickly and you need an experienced company with the manpower and drying equipment to get the job done. The clean- up is not just about extracting water from the surface of the carpet. JCR scanned the entire floor and wall area with an infrared monitoring device to determine the areas that were still wet which were not visible to the naked eye. The next step involved removing the vinyl baseboard and punching holes in the bottom of the drywall in order to dry out the interior of the walls with blowers and dehumidifiers. In areas where there were rubber backed carpet tiles, those had to be removed in order to dry out the concrete underneath since the rubber acts as a vapor barrier. This whole process takes days.
Some important pointers to remember:
- Store important paperwork in file cabinets, not in cardboard boxes on the ground because they will be damaged if there is a water leak.
- Clean off your desk at the end of each day to protect your paperwork.
- Report incidents as soon as possible to your insurance carrier.
- Document everything!
- Since cell phones are so critical in emergency situations, have a battery backup case.
- If equipment was responsible for the leak, leave it in place so the insurance adjustor can inspect it.
My advice to all property managers is to do your homework in advance so that you have a reputable disaster recovery service to call when needed. No one ever thinks it will happen to them.