We all know how important it is to maintain a safe and inviting environment for our self-storage customers and guests. But how do you achieve this in an organized manner while maintaining a strong peace of mind for facility staff as well? Here are 10 safety procedures every operator should put into practice at his facility.
1. Adhere to a Daily Checklist
All operators should create and use a daily checklist of tasks to ensure all is well prior to opening, throughout the day and again at closing. Include all the pertinent details of your property. The list can even be customized if you have more than one site. This will help set expectations for managers on what should be reviewed or inspected every day.
2. Review Camera Activity
Make sure no untoward activities occurred during any time you’ve been away. Most of us use a digital video recorder that only captures motion for recording. This is the preferred method and makes camera reviews fast and easy for managers.
3. Install a Panic Button
A panic button should be installed at the front desk and monitored by your security company. If someone were to threaten staff, employees can simply hit the button, silently alerting police or the security company. No one should try to be the hero. A panic button should be a standard part of the security installation at your stores. It can be used in any situation when the manager feels threatened.
Hopefully, your office also has a camera to record everything that happens. This will make it easier to capture criminals after the fact. One camera should face the front door, and the activity should be displayed on a flat-screen monitor in the office. This is part of the sizzle that attracts customers and motivates them to pay higher rent—technology at work! Plus, it makes thieves think twice before attempting criminal behavior.
4. Provide a Back Door for Safe Exit
A back door or other means of exiting the office should be included for staff safety purposes. It should be behind the desk and not visible to others. It works great when the employee breakroom is behind the wall that features the security monitors. Adding the camera system and recorders out of site also makes it easy for staff to access them.
5. Beware of Liability
When something unexpected happens, it’s imperative for staff to preserve the asset and safeguard themselves and their tenants. This could be placing orange cones around a sinkhole, adding caution tape near a fallen limb, notifying customers via e-mail that the property is inaccessible during a storm, placing tarps on a damaged roof or taking other precautionary measures.
You cannot just sit there and allow the weather or other conditions to deteriorate the facility and put staff and tenants in danger. Preparation is the key here. Maintaining necessary supplies, a vendor-contact list and a set of emergency procedures goes a long way to keeping everyone safe and preserving the property.
6. Consider Your Lighting and Fencing
There’s nothing more important to safety and customer satisfaction than great lighting throughout the site. Inspect your store’s night-time lighting at least monthly. Include the hallways, driveways, signage and other common areas in the inspection process. No one wants to be in the “_elf Storage Business” because the lights are out behind the “S.” Customers will pay higher rates for stores where the lighting makes them feel safe and comfortable.