Leverage the Current Pandemic to Proactively Prepare for Future Disasters

Duration: 90 minutes Speaker: Jo Becker

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In the ‘new normal’ of a post-COVID-19 world, much has changed.  Some apartment communities were better prepared for the pandemic than others.  As all of us look forward, many are considering how they can position themselves to be as prepared as possible for whatever might come next.

Emergencies and disasters take many forms but they all have one thing in common -- when something goes wrong your residents will look to you for help and direction.  Partnering with them to plan ahead for disasters is win-win strategy.

Whether it’s an active shooter situation, personal medical emergency, or large-scale natural disaster, you’re in a position to influence residents with information and resources – many of which are free to use!

This session will provide examples of how to facilitate engagement, build a sense of community, and demonstrate you care – all while boosting tenant retention and enhancing community wide safety. 

The proactive, collaborative steps you take can help protect your property and, literally, lives.  Make no mistake about it -- every step your residents take makes their households more resilient; and helping them helps you, too!

“But how,” you ask, “won’t residents just bury their heads in the sand?”  Not if you do it right!  Gently and strategically crafting messages aimed at those your residents love – their children, their elders, or their pets – can be much more galvanizing than other approaches. 

Since the majority of American households have at least one animal – including 70% of renters – we’ll use them as a model to demonstrate this effective technique.  Critter-specific resources as well as general preparedness tips will be included, along with free resources, literature, and presentation ideas designed to aid you in crafting a resident campaign without having to recreate the wheel!

The current environment has demonstrated with overwhelming clarity what professional emergency managers have been preaching for years:  Disasters – great and small, natural or manmade – can occur at any time.

The current situation has also shown how very resilient, resourceful, and compassionate we are.

As we begin to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and to set our collective sights on the horizon, this is a perfect opportunity to:

  • capture lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • draft or update contingency operation plans; and
  • proactively engage residents in a collaborative planning process so that all are better prepared for the future.

Learning Objectives

Following this session you will be able to…

  • Demonstrate your concern by identifying and touting the steps you’re already taking to safeguard the property and your residents. 
  • Empower residents to plan ahead for potential emergencies and disasters of all kinds.
  • Utilize readily available resources to create a custom preparedness campaign for your property without recreating the wheel.
  • Reach out to local community partners for resident presentations.
  • Offer low- and no-cost steps for residents to take, making this session relevant to all including subsidized, income-restricted, and / or retirement communities.

Areas Covered

  • Emergencies vs. disasters and why worry about them?
  • Crafting two messages for your residents
  • How and why to focus your campaign on animals or others your residents care about
  • Thoughts on prioritizing which disasters to plan for first
  • A few notes about residential fires
  • Free resources you can use

Who Will Benefit

  • Leasing managers
  • On-site managers
  • Portfolio managers
  • Compliance officers
  • Resident services coordinators (in affordable housing communities)
  • Maintenance and service technicians
  • Community concierges (in high-end housing communities)
  • Independent landlords or small operators
Jo Becker

A Realtor®-turned-fair housing advocate, Jo Becker was a licensed housing provider for 8 years before working for a statewide fair housing nonprofit for 10 years. There she trained over 10,000 individuals to consistently rave reviews.
Jo’s focuses on training housing providers including property managers, maintenance and service technicians, and private landlords. She has also studied emergency preparedness and disaster response with a focus on animals since 2005. She often combines the two bringing urgent, timely information about animals-in-housing to the housing industry.
Today Jo’s career consists of an unexpected alchemy of public speaking and writing on topics that blend lifelong passions and multiple career experiences. Regardless of topic or audience, Jo’s aim is to inform, empower, and inspire with historical and relatable context, understandable concepts, and bottom line considerations.

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