With the Atlantic hurricane season upon us from June to November, property management companies need to have an 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 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 in order to successfully implement their community’s emergency preparedness plan. The accuracy of information ensures that managers can effectively reach residents and that they don’t lose any information in transit. Many management companies 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 current. This includes phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, pets, and vehicles. Managers also receive frequent reports to their inbox on any contact information that is invalid. That way, they can personally reach out to the resident and correct it.
Residents can also add alternative contacts or guests, their relationship to them, and the guest’s phone number. This is especially helpful in case of an emergency. Managers can search for the resident and view a list of all contacts associated with them and then call them.
2) Automated communications
When a major storm is approaching the community, managers need to send residents important messages or resources to help them prepare or evacuate. In Pilera’s communication platform, managers can send “force” emergency calls that bypass resident preferences. Managers can opt to send messages to not only owners and tenants but other occupants residing in the community. During Hurricane Sandy, Pilera saw an uptick in messages being sent by more than 238 times the site’s normal usage. Our system was able to effectively withstand the high volume of calls being made.
3) Document management
An integral part of any emergency preparedness plan is educating homeowners and tenants of any potential incidents that may occur. A document library is one of the most helpful ways to do it. Pilera’s document management system gives managers a secure way to share important documents with residents. When managers add new documents, they can opt to send residents an email. Managers often add documents such as shelter information, community and building maps, evacuation procedures, safety kit list, and contact information for local law enforcement, hospitals, and non-profit services.
Our client, Cynthia Holland, president of Stratford Towers, emphasized 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
After the storm, managers then assess any structural damage in the community. Managers will have a list of maintenance vendors and their licenses/certifications handy to ensure they send the correct people. 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. In the ticket, managers can attach images and set follow-up dates for quick completion. Additionally, residents can submit maintenance requests to management and receive automatic updates through email.
5) Community contact management
It’s important to provide residents with contact information so they can reach out before, during, or after an emergency situation. In Pilera, managers can provide residents with easy access to contact information for board members, managers, local law enforcement, hospitals, local shelters, and more.
A reliable technology platform can help managers be adept and handle any difficult emergency circumstance they encounter with urgency. 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.
*The Pilera Software team updated this article on November 16, 2020 to reflect new updates in Pilera that can help managers to build their emergency preparedness plan.