With the Atlantic hurricane season upon us from this month to end of November, it is critical that community and property management companies have a solid emergency preparedness plan to protect the community. An essential component of the plan is implementing a reliable technology platform that can help managers more proactively handle emergencies. Such technology platforms enable managers to easily stay in touch with residents, ensure a safer community, and bring back operations to an optimal level of performance. Although there are some community and property management software tools in the market, we wanted to share how the ease of use, flexibility, and reliability through Pilera’s tools can benefit management companies and communities alike in an emergency situation and how our clients have benefitted from it.
1) Resident data
Managers need to have access to accurate information quickly and on the go. The accuracy of information ensures that managers can effectively reach residents and that no information will be lost in transit. Many management companies/communities require that residents keep their contact information up-to-date in an online portal. In Pilera, residents have the ability to keep all of their information – phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, pets, and vehicles – current. Managers also receive frequent reports to their inbox on any phone numbers, text, or email addresses that are unreachable in the system, so that they can personally reach out to the resident and get it corrected.
2) Automated communications
If a major storm or inclimate weather is approaching the community, it’s vital for managers to send residents important messages or resources to help them prepare or evacuate. In Pilera’s communication platform, managers can send “force” emergency calls which bypass resident preferences in order to send urgent messages. These messages are sent to the email/phone the resident has on file and translated in the language that they choose. Managers can opt to send messages to not only owners and tenants but other occupants residing in the community. During Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Pilera saw an uptick in messages being sent by more than 238 times the site’s normal usage with managers sending time-sensitive messages to their communities. Our system was able to effectively withstand the high volume of calls being made.
3) Document management
It is critical to educate homeowners and tenants of any potential incidents that may occur and a document library is one of the most helpful ways to do it. Pilera’s document management system gives managers a flexible way to share important documents and residents with a secure way to access that information. When managers add new documents, they can bring it to the resident’s attention through email. The types of documents that managers often add to the document library include shelter information, community and building maps, evacuation procedures, safety kit list, and contact information for local law enforcement, hospitals, and non-profit services. One of our clients, Cynthia Holland who is the president of Stratford Towers, emphasized on the importance of being able to access community information, remotely. She explained, “from emails to auto calls, to insurance and legal files remotely, to clean up documents – we were able to handle all building needs easily remotely”.
4) Maintenance & vendor management
Once the storm has passed and the environment is safe, managers then assess any structural damage in the community that needs to be repaired. In this process, managers will have a list of maintenance vendors and their licenses/certifications handy to ensure they are sending the correct people to repair. In Pilera, managers can maintain a list of vendors, their contact information, and license expirations. They can then create and assign work orders to their in-house maintenance team or external vendors, upload images, and set follow-up dates for quick completion. Additionally, if residents report any structural damages that need to be repaired, they can submit service requests which managers can then streamline to be completed.
5) Community contact management
Providing contact information to residents to have handy before, during or after an emergency situation is critical. In Pilera, managers can provide residents with easy access to contact information for board members, managers, local law enforcement, hospitals, local shelters, and more.
For emergency planning, a reliable technology platform can help managers be adept and handle any difficult emergency circumstance they encounter with urgency and care. Management companies and communities alike have benefitted by using the Pilera platform to educate homeowners and tenants of potential emergency situations, effectively convey important information to residents during and after an emergency, and bring operations back to an optimal level of performance.