If you are in charge of overseeing the maintenance of a managed property, you should have a plan in place to handle after-hour emergencies. If there is not already a plan in place, use the following tips for developing an emergency plan.

Set Up An Emergency Communications System

The first thing your plan will need is a way for the property residents to get a hold of someone when the office is closed. There are two ways this can be set up.

First, you can have a central number with someone answering the phones and performing triage for the calls. They can determine whether the call involves a true emergency, such as a broken pipe, or if it is something that can wait until regular business hours, such as a noisy refrigerator that is still working.

Second, you can have a switchboard system that redirects the call to one of your maintenance people who is on-call. This way, the worker can speak directly to the resident to determine whether or not the call warrants a visit after hours.

Decide Who Will Handle Emergencies

The next thing you want to decide is who will handle the emergencies that crop up after hours. One convenient way is to have an on-call maintenance person, as mentioned above. If you have more than one person on your crew, you could alternate the schedule every week so that each crew member gets a break.

You should also have a list of emergency maintenance services in case something comes up that your crew cannot handle. This could include gas leaks or electrical issues, for which you would need the gas company's number and a list of emergency electricians and the electric company.

Develop A Ticket System For Non-Emergencies

For non-emergencies, you will need a way to let the crew know about any jobs that need to be done the next working day. Developing a ticket system is one way to do this. Each job is written down on a sticky note or index card, then it is placed on a job board. If you wish, you can assign a task to a specific individual. Once the job is completed, the worker signs off on the ticket, and either moves it to a board marked "Completed" or hands it directly to you.

Having a plan in place can help your maintenance department deal with emergencies that arise with your residents. However, before implementing your ideas, you may want to speak with your property management company's manager, such as Choice  Maintenance Group LLC, to coordinate the development of your emergency maintenance action plan.