Property management might not seem like a dangerous job at first glance, but in reality, property managers—along with maintenance workers and cleaning staff—often face clear and present dangers.
Property managers often deal with irate or unstable residents who can, under certain circumstances, become violent. In fact, last year a property manager in Salt Lake City was murdered during the course of a tenant eviction. Four were killed at a property management firm in North Dakota, apartment managers in Dallas were murdered during a robbery, and, in another incident, by a former security guard at the company.
Employees working for a property manager are often asked to “put out fires” that require leaving the office—including checking on maintenance issues, serving eviction notices, and responding to resident complaints. When out in these unmonitored and sometimes unsafe areas, the risk of accidents, health issues and violence become more pronounced.
And it’s not just properties in less than desirable neighborhoods that are dangerous. Some of the most expensive properties have extensive issues with crime and violence. Complicating matters, the opioid and methamphetamine crisis has left virtually no area untouched. Addicts resort to crime and violence when desperate, and properties across the continent have experienced incidents of break-ins, squatting, robberies and violence. Property managers are often involved in dealing with these issues when they occur.
Property management companies are aware of the risk their employees face, and most have personal safety precautions in place for employees—often in the form of procedures and training. From evacuation routes to communication trees to roles and responsibilities, property managers are equipped with safeguards for dangerous situations. And every property manager must take personal responsibility for their own safety and be aware at all times of the potential dangers around them.
All of these precautions and procedures though are often not enough when an incident occurs. More can be done to mitigate safety risks for property managers and enhance their lone worker protection plan.
Here are 5 ways property management companies can help beef up safety for their employees:
Smart environmental design—like better lighting, cutting back foliage and simplified entrance and exit routes—can make a big difference in incident prevention. Exposing all areas of the property to full view deter crime before it happens and make escape or calling for help easier when an incident does happen. Auditing and adjusting your environmental design is a relatively fast and affordable way to increase the safety and security of lone workers.
In light of recent mass shootings, many properties have conducted active shooter drills for their employees. Similarly, conducting individual incident drills can help prepare property managers, maintenance workers, and cleaning teams for how to react to an attack or a health emergency.
No matter how many procedures and plans are in place to protect employees, the individual reaction to an incident is unpredictable at best. Training for these specific incidents can help lone workers react in the most advantageous way possible when the worst-case scenario happens.
Having everything from defibrillators to fire alarms and call stations spread across the property can cut downtime to reach emergency supplies when an incident happens. The closer help is, the more likely employees are to minimize the damage of a safety incident.
Some property management companies employ a security team for after-hours and even daytime hours. Too often, though, those security teams are powerless entities with little resources and training. They can’t be counted on to stop a violent attack or react to an accident or health issue. Investment in a more capable security team may cost a bit more—but not nearly as much as the cost of the fallout from a safety incident.
Often, property management companies have established a communications plan for employees for safety incidents. However, most of these plans rely on mobile phones, which can be unreliable during a safety incident, if they are unable to get to the phone and make a call. Having the right equipment available is crucial to a great communication plan. Wearable safety devices such as SolusGuard can ensure they can reach help even if their phone isn’t in reach.
A lone worker protection device—like the SolusGuard Panic Button—can make a big difference during a personal safety incident. Unlike a mobile phone, which requires reaching into your pocket or purse, unlocking the phone and then dialing up the person you need to contact, a panic button requires only a simple button press to do its job.
A wearable panic button, like the SolusGuard Panic Button, is discreet and can be worn as a pendant, belt loop or elsewhere, so it is easy to reach in either an attack or when experiencing a health issue or other type of emergency. The SolusGuard panic button—backed by a lone worker monitoring app—automatically calls a list of people, including 911, and includes GPS positioning so the victim can be immediately located.
Implementing a personal safety device as a part of an overall property manager safety program can significantly decrease the event of incidents, and the severity of an incident when it does occur.
Employees of property management companies—be they property managers, maintenance works or cleaning staff—face unique safety challenges. Providing employees with comprehensive lone worker safety can reduce incidents, instill confidence in employees—and protect your business’ bottom line.