Creating a Disaster-Protection Plan for Self-Storage: Before, During and After

By Cary McGovern Comments
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Management: During the Disaster

Since disasters can come from many sources, you seldom receive advance notice. However, self-storage operators should know what to do and understand their role regardless of the type of calamity.

It’s also critical that facility operators stick to their pre-assigned roles. For example, one person should be designated as the contact with the emergency responders such as police and fire departments. That same person may also be the media contact during the disaster. In an era of cell-phone video and YouTube, you can guarantee the event will be posted within hours, perhaps minutes. You can control any panic or bad public relations by being prepared with a written script highlighting just the facts.

Another person could be responsible for assessing the damage and coordinating a technology and an operational recovery. Another employee should be responsible for contacting investors and customers. Having predefined roles ensures tasks are completed in a timely manner, and helps the storage operation recover more quickly.

Recovery: After the Disaster

Once the immediacy of the situation is over, it’s time to move into triage mode and predefined disaster recovery. This includes:

  • An assessment of the damage to your facility.
  • Recovery of client and business data and information.
  • Quickly moving into a place to conduct temporary operations of your facility to service your customers.

You probably have concluded these tasks will take time to plan and implement. Perhaps those assumptions are true, but think of the cost of not doing it. Remember, each facility will have different needs when it comes to disaster preparedness. Checklists should be adapted to fit your facility and operation.

Cary F. McGovern has been in the commercial records-management industry for 32 years. He has assisted more than 500 companies in 23 countries enter and excel in this unique business. He is a member of ARMA International and PRISM International, and is a speaker at numerous industry tradeshows and conferences. For an outline of checklists and procedures discussed in this article, e-mail fileman@fileman.com; visit www.fileman.com .

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