Sponsored By

How Would Your Self-Storage Business Handle a Crisis?

While our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of a tragic event, such as last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, some of us also harbor fear and wonder how we’d cope in a crisis. Here's some advice for self-storage operators on being prepared when the unthinkable happens.

Amy Campbell

November 19, 2015

3 Min Read
How Would Your Self-Storage Business Handle a Crisis?

By Amy Campbell

The world has been transfixed and saddened by the tragic events that unfolded in Paris last week. In October, we were glued to news outlets, seeking more information about a shooting at an Oregon community college or what may have caused a Russian passenger plane to fall from the sky. From school and church shootings to strategically planned bombings and even natural disasters, it seems rarely a month passes without a heartbreaking event unfolding in some part of the world.

While our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of any catastrophic event—whether man-made or an act of nature—some of us also harbor fear and wonder how we’d cope with such a tragedy. I think it’s safe to say no one can ever be fully prepared when the unthinkable happens.

Although it’s unlikely your self-storage property will be the target of a terrorist attack, you can’t rule out a deranged tenant wielding a gun. Over the years, there have been numerous standoffs at facilities in which police were forced to take down a gunman holed up in a storage unit. And there have more than a few reports of fights, stabbings and shootings among tenants, all of which can put you in danger. Many operators have also dealt with property-damaging storms, fires and flooding. There’s really no way to predict what might happen. However, you can take precautions to prepare for any number of scenarios.

When faced with a crisis, would you know what to do? Does your self-storage business have an emergency plans for fires, crime, floods, hurricanes or other calamitous events? Is it a written plan that everyone in the company knows and understands? Communication is a key to dealing with emergencies and if the managers and owner aren’t on the same page, expect chaos.

If you’re a self-storage owner or supervisor, it’s up to you set the example. If you don’t have a written crisis plan, create one. At a minimum it should include:

  • Contact information for emergency personnel as well as other pertinent agencies, such as the local electric, gas and water companies

  • An emergency escape route

  • Guidelines for data backup and company information from your computer system

  • Defined and assigned roles and responsibilities for all staff members

  • Insurance information, including the name and phone number of your agent

  • A plan for notifying tenants

  • A response—and who will give it—for media, if warranted

Storage owners can get more guidance on dealing with a crisis in this ISS article. Another key to being prepared is to practice. Run through your proposed plans and adjust them as needed based on different scenarios. For example, you’d react differently to a gunman on your property than you would during a fire. Be sure everyone knows what to do in under a variety of circumstances.

You should also be prepared for other types of emergencies, such as an injury or accident. Do you have a fully-stocked first-aid kit? Do you know what to do if a tenant backs into a unit? Is your facility safe? How do you prevent crime? Do you have adequate insurance coverage if something happens at your facility? Read this ISS article to get insight on safeguarding yourself, tenants and property. It also includes a handy checklist to building the ultimate emergency pack.

The terrorist attacks in Paris—and even the recent shootings in the United States—have a way of reminding us that bad things can happen anywhere, anytime. We can’t predict them, but we can take some small steps to, hopefully, prepare ourselves in the face of a crisis. These instances can be scary and overwhelming. A little bit of preparation can go a long way to alleviate these fears and help you stay calm and safe.

Does your self-storage facility have a crisis plan? Share your advice by posting a comment below or on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest online community.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter
ISS is the most comprehensive source for self-storage news, feature stories, videos and more.

You May Also Like