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Disaster Recovery for your affordable housing property…are you prepared?

What to do, Where to go and What about the office?  We never expect tragedy to hit home, but what if….  Listen, if we could predict the future, we would all be very wealthy.  But we can’t!  What you can do is be as prepared as you can be.  Let me ask you, when is the last time you had a fire drill?  Do all of your tenants know what to do or where to go.  Where is the nearest shelter you can suggest to your tenants?  Is there a map or evacuation plan which is given to your tenants as well?  Where is the Gas shutoff?  Do you have the emergency phone numbers handy?  What about all of the tenant records, your computer, and most important when is the last back up you made?  Are you storing anything off-site?

Catastrophic events happen all of the time and we never see them coming.    However, lives are saved assets are saved when you are proactive and are prepared for the worse.  These are some things I thought of in case of a disaster however not all inclusive for your HUD affordable housing property:

1.       Create a site map of your property.

2.       Obtain consent if possible from any of your non-ambulatory tenants, so Rescue can more effectively handle the situation.

3.       Have a meeting with your tenants to discuss your plan.

4.       Schedule an evacuation drill so people know where to go.  (you can elicit some assistance from your local fire department/police).

5.       Have a list of emergency numbers in case of this emergency (okay, the 911 is obvious) But what about the Owner’s number, the Gas company, the Insurance company, the American Red Cross etc.

6.       Tenant records can also be scanned and saved electronically.  Discuss with property owner if you can begin saving or creating documents in an electronic format.

7.       Data backups are imperative and servers can now be remote (and secured), so make sure you discuss with a IT professional how you can accomplish this.

8.       Make an inventory of all assets (appliances, computer systems, desk/desk furniture, Filing cabinets, phone system, etc.)

9.       Find an alternative place where can you set up shop in the interim.

10.   Make sure your insurance policy is up-to-date!

These are just a few things right of the top I could think of.  What else can you add to this list?

Here is a link to a great resource:  http://www.disasterassistance.gov/disasterinformation/index.shtm