As the owner of Ultra Clean Service Corporation, a water damage restoration company in the Twin Cities, I work with large hotels dealing with water damage and disaster recovery. The hardest part of my job is seeing how much stress, loss and heartache my clients take on due to water damage. In many of these situations, management and staff are just not prepared for large water damage situations.
Recently, I turned to Dick Wagner, Disaster Restoration Consultant, to share important information on how to be prepared in case of a disaster to your hotel or property. Read on as Dick shares tips and strategies for being prepared for the worst.
Are You Truly Ready For a Hotel Disaster?
by Dick Wagner
Hotels that have a disaster plan in place before an incident happens are the type of properties to most benefit by being prepared. Being proactive creates an element of safety, as well as a more likely way to stay in business, or at least get back in business quickly. A pre-disaster plan, at a minimum should include “who to call” to assist with the recovery. Seek out a professional, qualified contractor before you need one!
Hotel owners, management, and staff should know “who to call” in the middle of the night – on a Holiday weekend – when water is pouring down through multiple floors of their hotel. Hours of delayed response and wasted time spent searching for a recovery company that you can trust (and will actually show up) can be devastating to the property, to your guests and to your bottom line.
Develop and Maintain Good Communications Quickly
Good communication is a more assured way to have a good outcome. By ensuring the right people are in the right place and that the facility itself is secure usually makes for a better end result! Just knowing who to contact and what their capabilities are, helps the hotel staff know more about the situation, how severe it is, and the steps needed to get back in business quickly. It can also help the people on site avoid making mistakes, such as entering a flooded building that has potential electrical hazards, or in knowing where appropriate exits are during a fire.
Training For The Entire Staff Is Crucial
Don’t fall into the trap of complacency like some companies, treating employee safety and disaster training as a waste of time. It’s much more than check marks on a checklist, ignored when the session is over. If you don’t take disaster and preparation training seriously, neither will your employees. Those involved with maintenance, kitchen staff, and any areas where utilities and physical hazards are prominent should be knowledgeable about protocols, since they may be the first line of response when a disaster strikes.
Continually Inspect and Investigate Problems
In a flood or other major water damage situations poorly constructed or located electrical lines and systems can become a big liability for any business. Inspect the grounds for potential disaster-prone areas and eliminate hazards before they become a problem. Make sure there is a high priority on reporting potential issues, and that employees and managers are aware of how to report them. Complacency and apathy are predictors of a poor emergency response (and likely a poor outcome).
Stay Calm | Know What Is At Stake| Be Professional
It can be easy to get swept up in various demands of a high-stress environment like a busy hotel throughout the day, but one of the most overlooked aspects of disaster preparation is making sure that your staff are well cared for and in the right state of mind, so that they can use their best emergency response tool: Their Minds. Maintain high standards of employee care and demeanor, and never forget that any single employee at a hotel can be responsible for preventing damage and saving lives.
Your best bet in a disaster situation is to contact a local expert, like Deborah at Ultra Clean Service Corporation, to ensure that your property is taken care of quickly and professionally.
Dick Wagner has served the restoration industry for over 16 years, providing disaster recovery services to both regional and national clients. Wagner is based in Cape Coral, Florida and brings expertise in Structural Drying, Environmental Inspection, Remediation, and Fire and Smoke Restoration. http://www.askdickwagner.com/