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The “Key” to Safeguarding Your Patrons’ Vehicles PARKING HEALTH SAFETY

By Kathy Phillips

It may seem self evi- dent, but managing a

parking garage valet service entails accepting responsibility for a customer’s vehicle while it is in the possession of the garage operator. Since the val- ue of many vehicles can run to tens of thousands of dollars it is important to defend against

theft (and claims of negligence) by implementing proper key con- trol procedures. While vehicles can be stolen through other means, such as hotwiring or use of a second set of keys, if a car is stolen, and the parking operator is in possession of the cus- tomer’s original key they cannot be deemed negligent. Using the following basic procedures to safeguard keys can

limit your liability. Secure keys in a locking key box that is bolted to the floor or wall (so the box cannot be stolen) or inside a locked room. The box or room must be locked at all times except when an attendant is leaving or removing a key. Only one or two super- visors should have access to the secured key storage area. Never leave keys in the ignition, under the mat, in the visor,

or on a tire, even if the vehicle is blocked in by others. Train valets to remain vigilant whenever they open a key

box. Acar thief can distract the valet’s attention while a partner swiftly “lifts” a key. Also, do not allow customers to press valets into taking shortcuts by claiming they are in a rush. Valets should write the customer’s name on a tag or ticket

that stays with the key and politely ask the customer’s name when they return for the vehicle. This precaution will preclude giving a vehicle to a bold thief who claims the Mercedes sedan in space seven is his, or handing over a car to an opportunistic thief who finds or steals the claim ticket. While all of these guidelines do not eliminate all potential for

theft, they do minimize the opportunity and provide safeguards for your establishment.

Wheel Stops – The Pros and Cons Wheel stops are usually concrete; however in some cases

plastic or rubber is used because these tend to be safer and less damaging. Regardless of the type, the following show exposures that the lot operator needs to manage: 1. Concrete wheel stops can chip, shatter and erode leaving

behind exposed steel spikes. This can create a dangerous safety hazard to pedestrians, who may cut themselves, and increase the possibility of puncturing a tire. 2. Plastic wheel stops do not break up as easily as concrete

because they are molded in one long length; thicker at the base than at the top. In light of this, there may be a tendency for the block to bow upwards, which could increase the chances of a person tripping or a car’s front end or spoiler getting hit or pulled off. 3. Rubber wheel stops won’t break up like concrete, or bow like one-piece plastic, they will soften and move around. This


movement plays on the fixing points and because they are made of recycled materials, such as old car tires, etc, they quickly break up or can work lose.Aflattened stop would be unable to prevent a rolling vehicle. Bottom line: wheel stops need to maintained to be safe.

Environmental Conservation and Eco-Friendly Ideas for

the Parking Industry The parking industry, like so

many other organizations today, seeks to make a positive impact, both as a business, and as part of the society. This includes caring for the environment. Parking industry leaders are making small and big changes, but all are significant when comes to benefi- cial effect on the environment. This endeavor presents some challenges that have to be dealt

with on a regular basis, and yet, many are finding ways to protect the natural world via eco-friendly means. Below are some exam- ples of actual parking garage and parking lot owners and opera- tors who have implemented conservation practices. Perhaps, these will enhance your own organization…

Solar-Powered Parking Equipment Non-polluting, solar-powered parking equipment is an

ongoing renewable option perfect for sunny arid locations. It may be initially expensive, but the payoff of low maintenance, noise- less and clean, unlimited power source, makes the investment worth it for many garages.

Environmentally Friendly Shuttle Service Transition from shuttle bus fleets to environmentally friend-

ly models which use eco-friendly propane or clean-burning natu- ral gas will save gasoline and lower emissions; some federal rebates may also apply.

Green Carwash Converting your carwash operations to use a water-recap-

ture system and biodegradable cleaning products will lower your water bill and conserve our water table.

Renewable Energy Sources Did you know that some entire parking facilities operate

with wind power technology? A search into how to implement may provide amazing rewards. Some parking garages are pio-

Parking Today

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