Understanding Disaster Preparedness

    The California hospitality industry has seen a strong surge in tourism post-pandemic, increasing the need for hoteliers to stay vigilant to both human-caused and natural events that threaten their property and operations. Unprepared properties often find that despair and hopelessness set in before they can react. In most cases, a slow response can be devastating.

    Preparing for the unknown can seem like a daunting task, but the right plan will ensure a response without hesitation. This quick reaction will mitigate damage, lessening business downtime, and ultimately get guests back to the great experience they’ve come to know and expect in a timely manner.

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    Staying ahead of disaster starts with the development of an emergency response plan. An ERP is an ever-evolving blueprint that handles all aspects of how a facility reacts to property damage of all kinds. By accounting for both human-caused and natural disasters, a full-scope plan can be developed with the specifics of each property in mind.

    Traditionally, restoration teams are reactive, coming in after disaster to prevent further damage and rebuild the property to its previous state. More recently, restoration companies have adopted a proactive approach, helping their clients develop ERPs so they can respond more efficiently in times of crisis. Finding a dependable restoration team that believes in disaster preparedness will aid in a property’s recovery time.

    Having a restoration team on-site for an assessment is crucial, but there are ways to make this process efficient enough to lessen the time they spend in the facility. Understanding property needs before connecting with a restoration partner will allow assessors to take their time cataloging ERP points of interest and concern instead of focusing on the elements that properties can gather beforehand.

    Providing any previously established emergency protocols will help assessors better understand what to expect before arriving on-site. The restoration company will assist in the development of a plan that establishes new procedures that speed up the overall disaster response: Who is the active onsite contact? What are the logistics? Where do first responding teams set up a basecamp without disrupting the guest experience?
    Hoteliers should call on the facilities team to help gather all known information: How old is the building? Is there a history of reoccurring damage anywhere on-site? Has any maintenance been deferred?

    It’s important to locate hotspots, like emergency shutoff valves for gas and water. More often than expected, properties suffer from damage that could have been mitigated because the location of the shutoff valves is unknown during an emergency.

    Valuable items such as artwork and musical instruments should be cataloged so response teams can protect them when arriving on-site.

    All forward-thinking will reduce time spent assessing the property and get key personnel back to work. Once the assessment is complete, numbers and contacts will be established so on-site teams know exactly who to call in an emergency.

    Unexpected property damage leads to sudden expenses. When communication is established between insurance and restoration, a price can be put on property damage before it happens. Building owners and managers will be able to collect all their information in one place.

    With restoration and insurance working side-by-side, both parties will be involved in the claims process from start to finish. Already established numbers and open communication will make this process run smoothly and reduce the chance of unexpected costs on the back end.

    It’s important for California hoteliers to remember that an ERP is an ever-evolving document. Make note of all repairs and catalogue deferred maintenance. Have assessors return for a yearly site assessment. Pay attention to wildfire season and prepare for potential earthquakes. Risk is an everyday problem, but an ERP will make properties ready for when disaster strikes.

    First Onsite is a leading restoration and property reconstruction company serving North America and beyond. We’re proud to provide the highest-quality remediation, restoration, and reconstruction services for essential industries.

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