Whether managed by a community management firm or self managed, every homeowner and condo association along a coast should be prepared for another busy hurricane season. To get your detailed hurricane plan in place and ready, discuss these planning tips with your association manager.
- Communication: Who is going to communicate to the owners and how. This should start as far out as possible once a projected landfall is identified. Letting people know as early as possible what the management company and the Association are doing, and what plans each individual should be making for themselves is critical. The responsibility of management and the Board is to take action to protect the common property. Individual owners if they choose to stay, must be responsible for their own safety and needs, and cannot count on the Association to provide food, water and shelter. Making this clear up front will help in the aftermath of a major event where power, water and sewer could be out for as much as a week. And after the storm, who do out of state owners or concerned family members call for information and updates? A disaster coordinator should be designated by each Board for these types of communications.
- Pre-Storm planning: It is equally important to have agreements in place with all of your vendors on how they will respond, and when, after a storm. Most major companies that have the ability to respond after major events, require pre-event agreements and authorizations. This allows them to plan and do advanced placement of personnel and equipment in the impacted areas. Ask yourself, who is going to coordinate the repairs to your buildings or common areas, and who has the ability to react quickly and expedite insurance claims and get things moving? Speak with your property manager about options to ensure that your Association is considered a priority when it comes to getting back up and running. These options are not expensive and will be well worth it if you are impacted.
- Storm Supplies: Supplies that you may need prior to, during, or after a storm should be in place long before an event. Panic buying will deplete supplies quickly. Your manager can help put together an emergency kit and list that can be stored at your property and hopefully never used. But items like sandbags, flashlights, batteries, tarps, generators and water will go quickly.
- Evacuation routes and shelters: Your plan should include how to evacuate your location as well as shelters that are available in your area. Again, this comes back to communication and having these resources available and communicated early in the process, so people are comfortable with making plans for their own personal safety.
Remember to prepare, not panic. Your management team should be experienced in planning and dealing with these types of events and have many resources and contacts to help each Association put together a workable plan.
Associa Gulf Coast