After Disaster Strikes

While a comprehensive emergency and disaster plan reduces the threat of emergencies, there’s only so much you can do ahead of time. Once a disaster strikes, it is critical to reduce further risk through control and mitigation of recovery operations. Here are some steps that you, as a real estate manager, can take to keep things running smoothly throughout the recovery process:

  • Focus on the safety and health of employees, tenants, residents, and service providers:
    • Assess property for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage
    • Contact disaster contractor and/or secure additional resources as needed
    • Make any temporary repairs to protect the property from further damage or people from additional injuries
    • Recognize that staff and other service providers may be affected by the disaster as well
    • Implement business continuity strategies for recovery and resumption of normal business operations (e.g., backup operations site, data recovery, and so forth)
  • Use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with employees, tenants, and residents. Twitter is an effective tool for real time communication because of its SMS/text abilities in the event of disrupted internet and phone service.
  • Depending on the emergency or disaster, provide resources and tips to residents or tenants. For example:
    • Share checklists for flood safety, hurricanes, power outages, and more at or direct them to resources such as
    • Post tips such as food safety guidelines during a power outage or reminders to use flashlights instead of candles for safety
    • Offer extra supplies of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, and so forth
  • Keep battery-powered radio available to listen to emergency updates and news reports
  • When dealing with the media, direct inquiries to a designated spokesperson, address questions with candor, and cover the following:
    • Describe nature of disaster/situation
    • Express empathy and concern for employees, tenants, residents, and visitors
    • Describe what company is doing to mitigate impact
  • Call your insurance company. Check your policy for requirements about reporting a loss. Some policies have time limits to file claims. Work with your representative on next steps (e.g., claims adjuster inspection, signed Proof of Loss form, and so forth).
  • Complete initial incident report that captures the period immediately before and after the loss:
    • Describe the scene and activities in as much detail as possible
    • Take photographs or video to provide visual records
    • List injuries, deaths, interactions with first responders, and actions taken by staff
  • Create a log to track expenses including cash, purchase orders, credit card charges, and contracts
  • Log the contractors you have requested to respond and identify the scope of their work
  • Capture the following in a daily log:
    • Records of safety meetings on site
    • List of contractors on site each day and the work completed
    • Meetings with local government representatives including police, fire, building code officials, and so forth
    • Proposed work plan for each day
    • Tenant needs and wants; document your communication with them
    • Interactions with the media
  • Continue written and photographic record from inception through the completion of the emergency or mitigation services
  • Review and update emergency plan


Additional Resources

X uses cookies to create ease of navigation for its users. For more information on cookies and our privacy policy follow this link. By closing this message, you are agreeing to our use of cookies on this browser.