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Self-Storage Suicides?

Self-storage owners/managers need a crisis-management plan to handle suicide situations appropriately.

Amy Campbell

July 16, 2008

2 Min Read
Self-Storage Suicides?

Yesterday, MPN.com reported that a man's body was discovered at a self-storage facility in Hopewell, N.Y. Following an investigation by the county coroner, it was determined that the cause of death was apparent suicide. Strangely enough, the man ended his life in front of a storage unit.

Some time ago, while reading discussions on Self-Storage Talk, I had encountered a seemingly odd question posted by Michael Bishop at StorageLand.

"Anyone have a suicide on their property?" he asked.

The responses varied. The first one echoed my own knee-jerk response: "Sorry, but you are one morbid person!"

Following the thread, though, I realized this wasn't a prank question, but an honest inquiry from someone who prefers to be prepared as opposed to completely dumbfounded in a critical situation. The Hopewell self-storage suicide made it ever-more apparent.

According to Randy Tipton at Universal Insurance, who responds to Bishop in the forum, self-storage suicides are not entirely uncommon: "It is sad to say, but we have insured facilities that have had suicides and found bodies."

Although most managers are probably safe to assume they won't have to deal with such a gruesome scenario, most also know that it's best to be prepared for any disaster, of any magnitude. For this, Tipton provides important advice:

"It is important to have a crisis-management procedure at your facility. We suggest that the first thing you do is call the police and fire department. Why both? Since you are not a medical doctor, you might have someone who is still alive. Get the police and EMT there ASAP. Then, call the owner of the facility. Hopefully part of your crisis-management procedure has a section regarding talking to the media, and not talking to the media. Document everything and do advise your insurance agent. You never know when something of this kind can develop into a lawsuit."

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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