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Crisis communication


“The go-ahead was given to communicate the message. The gunman was found and the building is secure. There was a recovery program for the witnesses and employees within the building following the incident. Property managers and operations people contacted all employees. There was a huge sense of relief and an eerie bond between those who just survived the experience. The morning after the shooting, teams of psychiatrists and psychologists were called in from a local university mental health and crisis center. Individual and group counseling was provided in the landlord management office. Stories of pain and helplessness and of heroic behavior were shared.”

This is just a part of an account my brother shared with me a while back. He was a property manager for an office building in Tampa when a gunman, who had been an employee of a major tenant in the building, came back to seek revenge for being fired months earlier. He calmly walked past the security guard with his firearms concealed beneath his dark business suit. He proceeded to the café, waited 20 minutes, and then opened fire.

How can anyone be prepared? Naturally, you want to take all necessary precautions to make sure your building is safe and secure. You want to run your building efficiently and safely, but you cannot be fully prepared for everything that might come your way. The important thing is to understand that human tragedy, hurricanes/natural disasters, power/electrical outages and other catastrophic events can and do happen. Before you have to encounter the unthinkable, involve top management, and get organized around a chain of command. Plan how you will manage communication with key stakeholders, the community and the media. Put it in writing, and review it periodically with leaders in your organization.

Seek outside help. Work with a crisis specialist and/or public relations professional, and develop a crisis communications plan. Put it in writing, and review it with your tenants, key stakeholders and your organization. Regardless of what does or does not happen, you will be glad you did this, because you will have some peace of mind.

Filed under: Business Practices
Tagged as: crisis communication, crisis management, crisis preparedness, property management, Public Relations, security, tenant safety

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