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Updating your condo’s emergency response plan

Apr 12, 2023 | Public | 0 comments


As spring temperatures arrive and snow and ice finally recede, condominium managers often face property maintenance issues that arise or were neglected during the winter months. In addition to the regular maintenance tasks required to transition your building from winter to spring, this is also an ideal time to review and update your condo’s emergency response plan (ERP).

An annual review guarantees your plan remains relevant and capable of responding to potential seasonal changing emergencies. Adding an ERP review to your spring checklist will also help your condo be prepared for possible extreme weather episodes.

Building disaster resilience includes developing strong emergency response planning at the community level. The annual review of your condominium ERP prioritizes emergency preparedness and promotes the well-being and safety of building occupants.

The goal of your ERP is to avoid or minimize personal loss, extensive damage, disruption of day-to-day living, and the costs of recovery and restoration in the event of an emergency or disaster. An effective plan for emergency response anticipates risks as well as the implementation of appropriate actions before harmful incidents should occur.

Identify, review and verify

Three fundamental observances—identify, review and verify—serve to establish the process for effective emergency preparedness, and to provide the best possible prognosis for an efficient emergency response. Regular auditing serves to fortify the compliancy and capability of the plan.

Modern condominium infrastructures are sophisticated and typically involve intricate networks of technology and human resources. An annual ERP review must analyze fluctuating risks on a variety of fronts, and address operational logistics which are often interdependent.

Securing pre-approved recovery response plans with outside contractors and restoration specialists is critical to reinforcing the practicality and efficiency of ERPs. Improvising or implementing unplanned response actions for out-of-date scenarios can result in inadequate or potentially damaging outcomes.

Emergency response plans also need to be updated annually for accuracy, and to ensure preparedness and effective response measures are adapted to changing variables.

Reviews should include, but are not limited to:

Communication: Verify clear and effective communication channels will remain available to disseminate critical information to all occupants and stakeholders. Re-evaluate current communication and notification systems.

Notification lists: Review contact information lists to update and verify accuracy of email addresses and/or phone numbers, and check that information for new occupants and personnel is included.

Data and computer requirements: Review protocol for computer backups, data restoration and what procedures are necessary to re-establish critical business processes.

Supply chain: In the event primary suppliers are not available, identify and establish connections for alternate resources to assure the availability and delivery of services and supplies necessary to sustain critical building operations.

Equipment needs: Verify availability of necessary equipment and establish processes for continued operations in the event of emergency shutdowns.

Reviews should also include updated information for all collaborative response entities, including but not limited to:

Emergency responders: fire, police, paramedic, etc.

Community organizations: Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army, weather services, etc.

Government agencies: Emergency response and management resources.

Utility companies: gas, electric, telephone, etc.

Contracted emergency responders: such as a disaster restoration company.

As part of the ERP review, consider implementing new technology, such as web-based response planning systems. Managers responsible for multiple buildings may also wish to create systematic templates for ERP policies, procedures and practices. These could incorporate detailed and site-specific data necessary for effective emergency response.

Emergency preparedness is a year-round responsibility, and having an up-to-date and efficient response plan in place is essential. Adding the ERP review to your spring maintenance checklist will enhance the emergency preparedness and safety plans for your condominium, and provide security and peace of mind for all concerned.


By Daniel Loosemore

Daniel Loosemore is chief of sales and operations at ServiceMaster Restore Canada. He and his team support over 70 franchises, delivering emergency disaster restoration services from coast to coast. To find out more, visit

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