As communities “reopen” after the pandemic, a review of resident security and safety considerations is likely overdue. Any review should encompass key areas of concern and include owner input. The information received will determine where concerns exist, desired solutions and how to proceed.
Are residents secure in the building? Concerns are likely to focus on building entrances, elevators, stairs and lighting. Solutions may include more security, improved signage or mirrors in elevators. In parking areas there may be a need for better lighting, mirrors to improve visibility around corners, and tighter control of vehicle access.
Some residents are likely to desire greater security than is provided by the corporation. Individuals can improve personal security by keeping their unit door closed and locked at all times. If allowed, adding a deadbolt provides greater security against break-ins.
Balcony and terrace doors, and exterior windows, are unit access points that should be locked to prevent intruders. Sliding doors, particularly those at street level, are most vulnerable. A security bar to lock sliding doors in place, and to prevent removal by children, is a good investment.
A home security system can emit an audible or silent warning if triggered by an unwanted visitor. Systems work best if monitored by an independent security service in contact with local police.
High rise buildings are subject to safety inspections to ensure systems are operational and meet current standards.
There is much that building residents should be aware of in the event of an emergency.
- Residents should know when and how to contact the fire department.
- Each unit should have a fire extinguisher accessible to anyone residing in the suite. All should be familiar with how to operate it.
- Residents should understand how the emergency sprinkler system works, and a Shutgun for when it may need to be manually turned off.
- Each unit should have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Each should be periodically tested. Many require batteries to be replaced or have an expiration date.
- Everyone should know how to escape a building – stairwells, not elevators – and where to meet.
Every building has insurance covering primarily common areas. Each resident should understand the limits of this coverage. Each unit should have separate insurance coverage that should be understood.