When Storms Strike: Key Takeaways to Help You Prepare

by Taressa Dominguez

When disasters strike or hurdles arise, they can be unpredictable. And though you may not know the timing or extent of impact, you can prepare your facility and staff to tackle whatever comes at them by creating a plan of action that is precise enough for your staff and tenants know what to do and expect, but is also flexible enough to adapt to the situation. At the Bigger Ideas in Storage Conference, the Move It Self Storage team of Tim Springer, Tom Maxfield, Katie Cowen and Jesse Munoz shared their expertise on how to respond to disasters. With about half of their properties within 30 miles from the coast, preparing for a storm is a constant and top priority for Move It. Here are some key takeaways from their session for when a storm rolls in.

  • Plan ahead and prepare for the worst so you can make the best decisions possible while evaluating your risk.
  • Prioritize communication with your staff and tenants. If you have advanced warning of a storm, plan on frequent and regular communications so that staff and tenants are kept apprised of details and your disaster plan as the situation evolves.
  • Notify vendors/work crews before the storm that you may need help to get up and running after the storm.
  • If you have time when preparing for a storm, file a “notice only claim” with your insurance so that you have a claim number ready in case you need it.
  • Power down important mechanical features at your facility, like gates and elevators. This will help ensure a tenant does not get stuck in an elevator and that the gate doesn’t become a safety hazard.
  • Make sure to notify tenants via phone, text, email and website of your evolving plan so that they can make their own plans. Tenants may be storing their emergency supplies and need to know when they can access them.
  • If you anticipate an increase in demand after the storm, evaluate your marketing spend. You will likely be able to save money by decreasing your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) if you know your demand is about to increase organically.
  • Ensure that you can do business, even in a basic way, after the storm. Consider having an “office in a box” at hand with a hotspot and TSSA paper leases included.

There is a process to responding to each stage of the storm—before, during and after. Above, we’ve focused on preparing before the storm hits, but in every stage, communicating your plan to staff and tenants is vital. We thank the Move It team and invite you to watch their full presentation, “When Disaster Strikes: Will You Flounder or Float?” on the TSSA website. If you missed the annual conference and want access to this recording and many more, you're in luck.  With the Post-Conference Pass, you will have access to 12 conference session recordings for a full year, so you can dive deeper into disaster preparedness and so many additional self-storage topics.  

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