Making Your Building Secure Establishing Emergency Management Procedures

In the post 9/11 world, building owners and managers have to feel a little bit like "Big Brother" the tyrannical, all-seeing, all-knowing holographic presence that George Orwell chillingly wrote about in his classic sci-fi novel 1984. In Orwell's fictionalized setting in a futuristic society, citizens were monitored by huge telescreens that contained the visage of Big Brother and police interpreted facial expressions and voice intonations to determine a person's truthfulness.

In the aftermath of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other government officials have warned that high-rise apartment buildings in New York City loom as potential targets of the terrorists. And now building managers, supers, security guards and doormen have unwittingly become the first line of defense in protecting your residential domain during an emergency situation.

Stick to the Basics

The most important thing a building manager can do is use common sense, according to New York City Police Dept. Sergeant Peter Picarillo, a senior planner with the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Picarillo was one of ten panelists who participated in an emergency preparedness seminar in May sponsored by the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM). Also represented were members of the New York City's police and fire departments, the American Red Cross and private security organizations.

NYARM, according to executive director Margie Russell, will follow up on their successful seminar with Emergency Preparedness - Part II during a luncheon meeting September 25 at Tavern on the Green. There managers, board members, real estate professionals, shareholders and unit owners, will be able to get the most updated information available from experts affiliated with the FDNY, the NYPD, the American Red Cross, OEM and other agencies, says Russell.

Since the first seminar, building managers and co-op and condo boards have been meeting with officials and among themselves to determine the best course of action. And, says Russell, they are looking to organizations such as NYARM and the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums (CNYC) to help them develop appropriate security procedures. "The managers have to have an organized communication vehicle with the agencies that are putting out the advisories," Russell says.

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