Translations Blog

Terilynn Meeker

April 11, 2019


Within minutes of the 911 call, first responders converged on Arizona’s largest office complex, Marina Heights, where thousands of office workers were just beginning their workday. A SWAT team coordinated movements with police from Tempe and the nearby Arizona State University campus, making their way into the building, setting up a command center and ascending to an upper floor to rescue tenants pinned down inside their space. Outside, fire engines from Tempe, Scottsdale and Mesa lined Rio Salado Parkway as their teams joined ambulance services near the building entrance to form a triage station.

As many as 200 first responders, real-world heroes, participated in this “active shooter” drill in October 2018, gaining invaluable experience that may someday save lives. The day also provided property management team members with an opportunity to test their preparations for crisis management.

Commercial property managers wear a multitude of superhero capes – from Customer Service Wonder to Captain Accountant to The Incredible Event Coordinator. One of the most important roles, though we hope it’s rarely used, is that of crisis manager.

Unlike comic book heroes, property managers typically are not born with super human powers. Therefore, the best property management services providers are those that prepare to save the day through rigorous and regular training alongside the real-life heroes: first responders. Training together streamlines communication and procedures in the event of an emergency. Similarly, first responders must be familiar with the latest building systems and technology to avoid any hinderances or slowdowns during an incident.

Newly constructed properties that incorporate the latest technology in building operations and safety are ideal training grounds for first responders to familiarize themselves with new building systems, technology, and the navigation of a large campus.

First responders can conduct training drills on responses to active shooters, explosive devices, hostage rescues, and natural disasters. In addition to drills on specific events, first responders can host specialized training on operating smart elevators, activating emergency key options, fire pump system and rescue air systems, which are now a requirement in new developments. These new measures provide oxygen to rescue workers running low on support. Firefighters can connect to the system from any floor of the building as well as the fire truck.

Our teams regularly conduct such drills at Marina Heights, a 2 million-square-foot campus in Tempe, Arizona, that consists of five office towers and ground-floor retail. As a benefit for the entire region, the training has drawn participation from the Tempe SWAT, fire and police departments; Arizona State University police department; Scottsdale and Mesa first responders; and ambulance teams from surrounding cities.

Commercial real estate companies incorporate the newest technology to attract and retain high-quality tenants. However, that technology can serve a dual purpose by helping to educate local first responders, ensuring their superhero capes continue to flutter.

– By Terilynn Meeker, General Manager, Tempe, Arizona