Window and door emergency prevention and preparation.
Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and floods are emergencies. No doubt about it. But an emergency can be any unplanned event that shuts down your business. Hundreds of plans exist to help businesses prepare for natural disasters, but that isn’t the only kind of emergency. Businesses must be prepared for a much more common emergency: broken doors and storefronts.
A business’ door and storefront are the first point of entry for customers. A broken door or window is never convenient. If a lock doesn’t work at closing or a storefront window is broken in the busy season, it affects a business’ operations for hours or even days — risking an organization’s livelihood. The two major components that best prepare a facility for a glass emergency are (1) preventative maintenance and (2) the right glass service provider.
The first step in a storefront emergency preparedness plan should be prevention. With natural disasters, facility managers can only prepare to a certain extent, but with glass and door breakage, prevention is possible and necessary. Preventative maintenance can save precious time and money.
Proactive measures can be taken to prevent some types of glass and door emergencies. To prevent an emergency, use a preventative maintenance checklist. Setting aside 5 minutes every month for a monthly visual checklist, preventative repair and maintenance saves time and money in the long run. People on-site can conduct a basic checklist with questions like the following:
• Does the door slam or close too slowly?
• Is the door scraping the frame?
•Are there any visible gaps between the frame and door?
• Is the closing mechanism leaking oil?
• Are there any visible cracks or weak points in the glass?
• Does the key turn in the lock easily?
• Does the lock need adjusting?
These are just example questions; a more detailed list can be developed depending on a facility’s particular needs. If a problem is spotted with one or more of the above questions, a glass service provider should be able to provide the appropriate maintenance in a timely manner before the problems escalate.
Choosing a Glass Service Provider
Of course, all emergencies aren’t preventable. Vandalism and weather-related emergencies can’t be controlled by keeping up with maintenance requirements. Emergency plans must be set down proactively, so when the police call about a break-in, each facility manager knows whom to call without relying on unknown companies found on Google or in a phonebook.
Believe it or not, an organization’s plan for responding to broken glass or doors can be simplified by choosing the right service provider. Here are some basic questions to help determine the right glass service provider before glass breaks.
Is there one point of contact?
In today’s economy, most businesses, including facility maintenance companies, are over-worked and under-staffed. Streamlining and organizing operations is essential in today’s market. If efficiency is important, insist on a central point of contact for contract administration and compliance. Too often, with large service providers, client organizations get pushed around to different employees either because of communication difficulties or avoidance of an issue — wasting your time and money. By insisting on one point of contact, you receive more consistent messaging and higher efficiency.
If there is an emergency, does the facility receive priority service 24/7?
Vandalism and some other emergencies cannot be prevented with routine checks and maintenance. In such situations, timely responsiveness from a glass service provider is vital to return an organization back to normal operations as quickly as possible after an event. If the breakage happens after-hours, a glass provider who answers the phone and goes to the scene for an emergency board-up is essential to prevent further damage.
Is there a consistent pricing system?
Unfortunately, 24/7 emergency service is often synonymous with outrageous prices. Consistent pricing systems prevent last-minute emergency service pricing increases. Ask for pricing policies up front, so when mayhem strikes, the prices don’t unreasonably skyrocket.
With multiple facilities, is there a way to streamline invoice processing?
Streamlined invoicing processes that merge invoices by the facility maintenance company helps to more easily maintain multiple facilities. One invoice for multiple jobs decreases paperwork and improves job tracking. Organized invoicing makes compiling information on jobs, location, type of work and expenditures possible with minimal effort. With this kind of reporting, facility maintenance companies can track trends to better serve each location and increase efficiency.
In general, are the glass service provider’s technicians and employees trustworthy? Do they offer consistent, quality service?
First and foremost, when an organization is vulnerable, the glass service provider must be trustworthy. That means trusting the service provider has priced jobs fairly, done quality work in a timely fashion and put each facility’s needs first. If the answer to this question is “yes,” then some of the above points may be moot.
In addition to choosing the right glass service provider and proactively maintaining a facility’s storefront, basic measures must be taken to ensure a quick operational recovery. These measures include understanding insurance policies and establishing a communication system for quick status reports. With these proactive steps, window and door emergencies can be reduced and dealt with efficiently.
— Michael Gai is the director of national account services for Glass Doctor®. The author may be reached at [email protected].