NAR launched REALTOR® Safety Month in 2003 and expanded it to a year-round program and service initiative in 2009. In 2015, NAR President Chris Polychron will make safety a paramount focus of the organization with a variety of new resources for members and associations.
“This year, we are going to take a look at what we offer and see how we can improve everything from tools and technology to resources and education,” he says. “2015 is going to be a new chapter in REALTOR® safety.”
Current resources on nar.realtor/safety include talking points and handouts, webinars, videos, articles, smartphone apps to download, products to purchase, and experts available for training presentations. In the works are new biannual safety webinars, monthly communications on various safety topics you can share with your members, and a weekly update of the safety widget with a new safety tip. NAR will offer a list of best practices but will stop short of mandating any of these practices.
By now all associations should have received the REALTOR® Safety video that was included in NAR’s Orientation Toolkit, mailed to all state and local associations in January.
To keep safety in the spotlight, REALTOR® Magazine is launching a new section on well-being to promote new and existing content on safety and health. The magazine’s Business Tips & Trends newsletter will make safety a permanent element in the design and not just an occasional feature.
State and local associations are also boosting safety programs and awareness. Many have begun lobbying real estate commissions to approve safety instruction for continuing education credit and to make safety training a mandatory part of prelicensing and license renewal education.
In North Dakota, all licensees will be taking a safety course in 2015 to renew their license thanks to the North Dakota Association of REALTORS®, which lobbied the real estate commission to mandate the three-hour course. “We had already been in contact with safety instructors and had contracts in place to offer the training because we felt we would be doing it with or without the commission making it a requirement, but we’re thrilled they acted so quickly,” says state association CEO Jill Beck.
In Arkansas, Gary Isom, executive director of the Arkansas Real Estate Commission, recently announced that for 2015 safety education will be offered as continuing education and safety will be a topic in the education for new licensees. “While tragedies can bring everyone’s attention to issues such as personal safety, our intent is to ensure that awareness of this issue becomes a permanent and key component of the practice of real estate in Arkansas,” Isom said in a statement.
Duncan R. MacKenzie, CEO of the New York State Association of REALTORS®, plans to approach state regulators to include safety training within the salesperson and broker qualifying courses. “President Chris Polychron challenged the states to focus on safety in Beverly Carter’s memory, and, in response, NYSAR will rededicate itself to helping prevent another senseless tragedy,” says MacKenzie. NYSAR offered a three-hour continuing education safety course at its tri-state Triple Play convention in December, and starting in 2015, its GRI courses have been rewritten to include a safety segment. “We will utilize our website to direct our members to the wealth of safety information available at nar.realtor.”