Reviewing MiCasa’s Performance In An Emergency – Champlain Ridge Fire

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In 2013, Champlain Ridge (strata number VR1241), experienced a 4-alarm fire. Nobody was injured during the fire; however, many units were damaged and deemed inhospitable.

At the time, some residents were informed that they could not re-enter their homes for up to 18 months.

Shortly after the fire I wrote an article for MiCasa that documented the unfortunate event, and helped raise some awareness of the issues faced by residents affected by the blaze.

While researching my article, I learned from people with first-hand experience using MiCasa in an emergency situation. I relayed this information back to our MiCasa team. We applied this knowledge, using it to improve MiCasa for stratas that experience emergencies in the future.

The information below was compiled for our internal review of MiCasa’s performance in this emergency.

The Data Story

MiCasa routinely monitors a number of data metrics related to server load. A spike in data usage provided the first indication that something was happening at Champlain Ridge.

During the fire, and for some time later, data indicated heavy load on the Champlain Ridge subdomain. After continued monitoring, MiCasa discovered that the heavy data load was due to a rush of new accounts being created, new Community Board discussions and new document uploads.

Lorne Prupas - council president of Champlain Ridge
I spoke with Lorne Prupas to get an idea of his experience using MiCasa after the Champlain Ridge fire.

“MiCasa is a very helpful vehicle for communication. Before the fire, MiCasa was not as well adopted by residents as we had hoped. Our council is very active on MiCasa and residents are now using it too,” said Prupas.

Prupas is correct. Following the fire, 92 percent of residents are now approved users of MiCasa at Champlain Ridge.

Prupas went on to mention that 1 in 8 people living at Champlain Ridge do not have access to a computer. A fact that emphasises the importance of Champlain Ridge continuing to receive ‘traditional’ property management services, while providing enhanced property management services online for the majority of residents.

Leslie Brock, ColyVan Urban - Property Manager at Champlain Ridge
I spoke with Leslie Brock to get a Property Manager’s opinion of MiCasa after the fire.

Following the fire, Brock was responsible — amongst other things — for helping find short-term accommodation for displaced residents and overseeing repairs with Champlain Ridge’s insurance company.

“MiCasa has been amazing,” said Brock. “We advised all [Champlain Ridge] residents to sign up to MiCasa, and from there all correspondence has been instant. We’ve been able to quickly organize meetings without having to send out mail. This is important, because Canada Post will not deliver mail to a building that has been ‘locked-down’ by the City of Vancouver”.

Champlain Ridge council and management used MiCasa to communicate with residents displaced by the fire and keep residents updated as rebuilding got underway.

I found an overwhelmingly positive response to MiCasa’s performance during the Champlain Ridge fire. Underscoring that it is the responsibility of the entire property management industry, including companies like MiCasa, to better educate residential stratas about technology that allows residents to effectively communicate – with each other, with council and with management – during an emergency.

What do you think of this article? Should technology be a part of a stratas emergency response process?  Or, am I biased towards technology because I work for MiCasa? Please leave your comments below.

Written by Mathew Peake

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