guest blog by Nila Ridings
A townhouse complex in San Jose, California had a fire and two pets were killed. As sad as that is, it could have been far worse. Why? Two fire hydrants were non-functioning.
Residents claim they have reported these broken fire hydrants to the departments responsible for maintaining them. Yet, the spokesperson is saying this was the first they heard of it.
Folks…we now live in a society where every contact you make MUST BE DOCUMENTED.
When you make a call, write down the name of the person you are speaking with, the number you dialed, and their job title. Make note of the date and time. Ask for their employee ID, phone extension, location or call center where they are located. If you are transferred to another person, repeat the process. Make detailed notes of the message you are conveying. And make detailed notes of what action they agreed to take and when. Any future communication or documents to or from anyone on this topic must be added to the original.
Should something like non-working fire hydrants happen you can pull your spiral notebook out and say, “I reported that on date, time to Mr. Hydrant the Head Engineer at 555-5555 x 515.” Nobody should argue with you when your documentation is detailed.
Better yet, make your communication in writing via email or a typed or handwritten letter. Keep a copy of it. And keep a copy of any written responses.
These efforts will pay off when you win battles with people who claim no knowledge of ever hearing about a problem. Had the folks making their claim for reporting these fire hydrants documented those calls somebody would now be sitting in a hot seat.
We know from previous condo fires the outcome is never positive for the owners. Perhaps this one will be an exception but I doubt it.
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