First and foremost, a
superintendent’s role is definitely one of leadership. Keep in mind that the
building staff are not security guards. However, steps can be taken to
better guard each building. Please note that these steps should be already
in place due to common sense. As always complacency does take over and
precautions sometimes fall through the cracks. Building security has always
been a matter of cooperation between building staff and residents.
1. All building staff should be on watch
for people that do not belong in the building. This means proper screening
of visitors and guests. A written letter from residents should be left on
file at the desk of all those persons who have permission to enter an
This watch list should also include
contractors. A list of subcontractor names should also be given to the
front desk or left at the service entrance. A sign-in and sign-out sheet
is also a good idea to keep track of the workers that are not building
staff. On this watch list should also be local officials. Make sure that
the badge-carrying official is who he or she claims to be.
2. Packages left unattended should be
reported to the super, who will in turn follow the policy established by
3. Garages with no attendants should be
given special attention. Drivers who enter or exit the garage should NOT
drive off BEFORE the garage door closes.
4. The building should have the following
equipment in the event of an emergency:
• A bullhorn in the lobby for staff use
to alert residents of an emergency.
• Several whistles so the staff can get
• A supply of glow sticks that can be
used as an alternate form of lighting in hallways and stairs. Note:
these glow sticks are inexpensive and stay lit for about two or more
hours. This should be just enough time for an evacuation if it is needed
during a power outage.
• Lanterns or camping lamps to provide
extra fuel for lighting in the lobby.
• A supply of flashlights in the lobby
with extra batteries.
• Hand radios or walkie talkies. These
are very useful in any emergency so that the staff can communicate with
• A list of elderly and special needs’
residents with their apartment phone number as well as phone numbers of
family for emergency use.
The staff should make one or two practice
runs to assess preparedness for different types of emergencies. After all,
practice makes perfect.
Residents should also know what to do and
what is expected of them. It would be wise to make them part of the drill.
Also don’t forget to send out informational notices to every resident and be
sure that new residents get the information as well. Example: If the power
goes out, tenants should store some water but not run the tank dry. In fact,
it might be a good idea for residents to keep a supply of bottled water on
hand for emergency use only. Residents should also have flashlights and
batteries in their own apartments.
Remember to stay away from candles as they
are a fire hazard. Smoke detectors in all apartments should be checked
regularly to make sure they are fully functional. Emergency stairs and/or
fire escapes should also be inspected regularly to ensure there are no items
Use common sense. Sometimes it is the small
things that matter most. Communication must be ongoing. Staff, residents and
management must be kept in the loop of any changes in policies and must be
reminded frequently of policies and procedures.
Cooperation between all parties is vital.
Being prepared by having the necessary tools and supplies for any emergency
is no longer just a Boy Scout motto; it should be yours as well. Make sure
that everyone knows what they are supposed to do and when they are supposed
to do it. And make sure that complacency does not set in.
All of the above together makes for a safer