Inside Self-Storage

MAY 2019

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Amy Campbell, Editor amy.campbell@informa.com A few months ago, I asked members of Self-Storage Talk, our online community, if they felt safe at their facilities. It's comforting that 88 percent of them reported that they do. That 12 percent, however, concerns me because everyone has the right to be protected while at work. Unfortunately, there are several reasons storage employees might have trepidation about their work environment. A majority work alone for part or most of their shift. In addition, there typically isn't a stream of customers coming and going around the clock. Even if a facility is on a busy street, it lacks adjacent neighbors common in other retail settings, which can leave the manager vulnerable. And criminals know all this! From unit break-ins to robberies, drug deals to domestic-violence disputes, operators can be exposed to a variety of criminal acts, regardless if their site is in a low- or high-crime area. To protect their properties and people, operators employ several security measures, including access-control keypads, perimeter fencing, lighting and video cameras. In truth, these are the just the basics all reputable storage sites should contain. Today, there's a plethora of new technology that can help you better protect your facility. Turn to page 28 to learn more about these components and how to determine if it's time to upgrade your system. There are also steps beyond implementing technology that can insulate a facility from crime. You can establish a relationship with local law enforcement by offering your site as a training ground (page 22) or provide a rental discount to officers and other first-responders. Police presence goes a long way toward deterring those who are planning to use your site for their criminal activities. Operators also need to be observant. While tenant screening can weed out potential problems before a lease is ever signed, you can't always judge a book by its cover. What you can do is be active at your site. Do several walk-throughs daily, greet your customers as they drive through the gate, stop and chat with them. Let them know you're there and you see them. Also, if something seems off, it probably is. A little paranoia can be a good thing. Just use your best judgment. You might be tempted to act, but it's usually best to let the authorities handle it. For more crime-prevention advice, read the article beginning on page 20. Of course, preventing crime is just one aspect of managing a storage business' overall risk. There are legal facets to consider (page 12), such as ensuring your rental agreement is current with new laws. You should also have adequate insurance coverage (page 16) so your business is protected. And you must know what to do if something does happen at your property, from how to file an insurance claim (page 18) to steps to take when someone is injured (page 34). Another looming danger is hurricane season, which runs through November. These storms have wreaked havoc across the nation over the last few years. A husband-and-wife team who prepped and protected their facility through Hurricanes Matthew and Michael share how you can do the same (page 25). Storms aren't the only threat to facilities, either. An operator who experienced a facility fire offers guidance on what to do during and after the blaze on page 41. While there are a multitude of risks to operating a self-storage facility, there are also many ways to minimize them. Enhance your site's security, have a safety plan in place, purchase the right insurance coverages, stay current with your legal obligations, and always be prepared for adverse weather. It's not going to be easy to cover all these bases, but by not doing so, you could be risking lives and your livelihood. All my best, THE INSIDE VIEW Dial It Up: Protecting Properties and People 4 ISS I May 2019 www.insideselfstorage.com

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