11 Tips to Ensure Your Association is prepared for Hurricane Season
July 11, 2018
Hurricane season is upon us once again. Each year it's hard to predict whether Mother Nature will quietly pass us by or rain destruction upon the Earth. One thing's for sure; it never hurts to be prepared for the worst.
Here are 11 tips to ensure your association is prepared for hurricane season.
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1. Review and Update Plans and Procedures
When preparing for anything, it helps tremendously to have a plan of action. Discuss with the board, directors, and residents what to do in the event of a natural disaster.
If a storm is en route to your region, be diligent in tracking its path; staying tuned to news and radio broadcasts. If possible, consistently maintain your website with updates on the storm’s progress.
Communication between the board and residents will be invaluable. Designate a member of the board to be responsible for communicating with tenants before and after the storm; keeping them updated on preparations, predictions, conditions, and restorations.
2. Document Property Conditions
Document, store, and backup records of property conditions prior to and following the storm.
Media such as photos and videos are powerful information that can be used for insurance claims.
Additionally, unit owners may be advised to create records of the state of their property before and after a perceived natural disaster.
Make sure current required insurance policies are active and up-to-date.
Looking into additional insurance coverage may save your association a lot of money and hassle.
If your residents are required to have personal insurance, remind them of this responsibility.
4. Common Area Preparation
Hurricanes bring with them strong winds and heavy rain.
Be sure common areas are adequately prepared to withstand these forces by boarding up windows, moving loose and unsecured furniture, acquiring and placing sandbags, trimming any low-hanging or potentially destructive tree limbs, and safely securing important records and equipment.
5. Resident Notification
In the event of an imminent storm, it is important to notify all residents and owners with instructions for property preparation.
In much the same fashion as the common areas, they may need to remove porch or balcony furniture, secure windows or shutters, and place sandbags to negate flooding.
6. Emergency Contact Information
Be sure your contact information for all unit owners is current.
You may have residents who plan to leave their property during the storm, so creating a list of who is on-site and who has temporarily vacated can be beneficial.
Furthermore, ensure your association has access to all areas of the community in order to comprehensively assess damage following the storm.
Depending on the location and conditions of a storm affecting your community, your association may be required to evacuate.
The likelihood of evacuation is increased for properties on the coast and in flood zones.
Develop procedures to employ in the event of an evacuation; making sure all residents are vacated and the association is secure.
If your association plans to have staff present when the storm rolls through, prepare a secure location for them to stay with access to emergency supplies.
If no staff in your association plans to be on-site during the storm, be sure to designate someone who will initially return in order to survey damage.
9. Power Supply
Loss of power is a common problem following hurricane damage.
If your association does not have a generator, it may be pertinent to acquire one.
Moreover, be sure to obtain adequate fuel and consider maintenance service to ensure the machine’s optimal performance.
10. Post Storm
Following a hurricane, your community will likely be littered with debris from plants and trees.
Devise a list of storm clean-up companies as well as water removal services, and building repair and restoration vendors.
11. Insurance Claims
Designate a member of the board of directors to assess and document damage to the community, submit, and follow up with insurance claims.
This position will be crucial to returning the association back to its traditional state in an expedient and cost-effective manner.
Natural disasters such as hurricanes and tropical storms can deal devastating blows to communities and associations.
It is, therefore, vitally important to formulate thorough and extensive procedures in the circumstances of extreme weather.
Try to conceive of all possible situations and the best methods to tackle their problems.
If you prepare for the worst and hope for the best, your community association will brave another severe storm season relatively unscathed.