As a self storage facility owner or manager, you must be prepared for the worst. An active plan for any disaster keeps you and your staff safe. Think about this: what will you, your staff, and your facility do in these situations?
Here are some simple steps to set up your disaster response plan:
Think about what kind of disaster can befall your facility.
Do you live in a high fire area, a hurricane zone, or a tornado alley? Floods and fires are natural disasters that happen most frequently. Talk to your insurance agent, learn what your insurance covers, and understand what you’re responsible for. Will your insurance help rebuild the facility? Does it include legal protection from suing tenants? What steps does your insurance want you to take in the event of a disaster?
Make sure you look for gaps in your insurance. For example you insurance will cover you for rain damage but not flood damage
Then, think outside the natural disasters.
Hackers are a big issue for many businesses. They can crack your system, stealing the names, addresses, credit cards, and social security numbers of your tenants. What will you do if this happens? Does your insurance have a hacker payment clause?
What about a robbery? What do you want your team to do if someone comes and tries to grab the cash box?
Now, think about if something happens to you.
You don’t want your employees or loved ones scrambling for a solution if you’re suddenly unable to be at your facility. Think of a way to get the needed information to others. Your business shouldn’t suffer while you cannot be there.
Brainstorming with your team on the types of disasters can help as well. Everyone has their own experiences and will bring different perspectives to the table.
Make an actionable plan. Put your thoughts for each disaster scenario on paper, and put those plans in a place that is easily accessible to your family and staff. Train your team on where to find the plans and walk them through your disaster response plan.
Knowing that their leadership has a plan allows your team to stay calm during any emergency. This gives them the confidence to do things, rather than standing around, waiting for your approval.
You also want to focus on prevention while you do these plans. What can you put in place now to help mitigate or even eliminate the disasters you have brainstormed. This is especially true in regards to hackers and succession planning. You can take action on those items now to mitigate the damage from those disasters.
Review your plans at least once a year. This includes checking with insurance, updating the plans as needed, and updating your team training. Updating all of the disaster plans at once can be overwhelming, instead think of it as a cycle. An example of a cycle would be:
September – Review the Data Protection and Data Breach Plans. Hackers love the holidays and that is often when they are most active because people are focused on things other than their bank accounts and credit cards.
January – Review the flood and fire insurance. As storms come in and thaws start this is a good time to review.
May – Review succession planning.
Mapping out when certain disasters are most likely to happen and then inserting the rest of the plans around those will help your business to set up the best rhythm.
We hope that a disaster never strikes, but if it does, we want you to be prepared to face it. Planning ahead is crucial in business – even for disasters that may never happen. It is better to have these plans and never need them – rather than to need them and not have them.