Is Your Apartment Property Ready for a Disaster? | Advice for Property Managers

With the changing seasons, we’ve been getting ready for the fall weather and, of course, football. This seasonal change and its generally more benign weather present an opportunity to ask a question that may not be on many peoples’ minds… “Are your apartment communities ready for a disaster?”

Hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis of late have been sobering reminders of the need for disaster preparedness at apartment communities as entire cities and communities have become their own Ground Zero. The tragedy in Joplin, Mo., and flooding in the Missouri Valley and along the East Coast have kept relief agencies active over the summer.

As a property manager, how prepared are you, your employees, or your residents? Not sure? Well, the American Red Cross can help you find out.

Our free Ready Rating™ program is designed to get schools and businesses disaster-ready through a 123-point self assessment that identifies levels of preparedness. By going at your own pace, you’ll gain access to tips and best practice information and build a plan.

Through the Ready Rating Program, property management companies can establish a meaningful operations plan that includes determining where employees work off property, setting up phone systems and meeting the needs of residents in the event of a disaster. Since the program is Internet-based, plans can be accessed from a smart phone or iPad. The plan is literally at your fingertips. Also, the property management company can look at each apartment property’s plans and determine the level of readiness. Ready Rating constantly keeps track of where your properties are in their disaster preparedness plan, allowing for close monitoring of specific areas of improvement and action plans.

Disaster Preparedness is Worth the Investment

Making the investment in disaster preparedness can go a long way toward not only human survival but being in a position to rebuild after man or Mother Nature deals a crushing blow. The facts are sobering: following a natural or man-made disaster, 15-40 percent of businesses fail. And 94 percent of small business owners feel a disaster could seriously disrupt their business within the next two years.

With the economy the way it is, we’re cutting back and doing more with less, and it’s difficult to find the time to do the things that don’t reward us immediately. Also, it’s perfectly natural to say a disaster isn’t going to happen to you, and, if it does, that you’ll deal with it as it comes. However, taking the time to prepare your property and staff can help keep your residents in their homes while you continue the normal course of business.

If you already have a plan, great! The user-friendly Ready Rating program can complement existing preparedness activities.

If you don’t have a disaster preparedness plan, please consider signing up at http://readyrating.org and taking the survey to find out how well your property is prepared for a natural disaster.

What are your thoughts about disaster preparedness? Are your properties prepared? If you use Ready Rating to help get your apartment properties ready, please share your thoughts.


Community Disaster Education Program Coordinator
American Red Cross, Southern Nevada Chapter

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Caren Bedsworth is the community disaster education program coordinator for the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross, which serves Clark, Esmeralda, Lincoln, and Nye Counties. Caren has been with the Red Cross since 1999, educating communities in disaster preparedness. She has been a CPR & First Aid instructor for humans and pets, first aid station leader, and disaster training instructor. She also served on disaster relief assignments to assist victims of hurricanes in Alabama and Florida and wildfires in Arizona.

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