Disasters can strike at any time. From a hurricane making an unexpected turn to an earthquake suddenly shaking the ground, these events all have the potential to impact the HOA community. Rather than wait until they occur to take action, it’s better to be proactive and have plans in place to minimize confusion and distress. While it is impossible to plan for every potential scenario, there are some basic steps that can be taken to be more prepared.
One of the first things to do is to assess the risk of various situations. Don’t spend a lot of time planning for an earthquake if your community is not situated in an earthquake prone-zone or had any major occurrences in decades. But if you’re near the coast, hurricanes and flooding are major considerations, just like in the mountains wildfires and mudslides/avalanches can be problematic. Determine which types of disasters are most likely where you live.
No matter the type of risk, make sure that all governing documents, financials, insurance information, and other important documents are secure. Store backup copies in a safe deposit box or fireproof/waterproof lockbox. Make sure digital files are backed up regularly and stored securely in the Cloud or at an offsite location.
Create an Evacuation Plan
If your community is forced to evacuate, are you prepared? Do residents know where to go? What about members who need special assistance? Have clear plans in place regarding designated routes and who will assist those in need.
Keep Emergency Supplies on Hand
It is always a good idea to have extra batteries, flashlights, blankets, non-perishable food, water, and first aid supplies ready to go. This is beneficial for many types of emergency situations. Provide homeowners with a checklist of recommended supplies and remind them to periodically check their stock. Also ensure that the community has some supplies to help those in need.
Review Insurance Coverage
Does the HOA’s insurance cover flood damage? What type of protection is in place for community assets? Review insurance policies to make sure that they are still appropriate and provide the correct level of coverage. Know what steps to take should an emergency strike and a claim need to be filed.
Have a plan in place to communicate with HOA members and keep them informed. They should be updated regularly on emergency plans and know what processes and procedures will be in place should a disaster occur. Make sure that all contact information is up-to-date and remind homeowners to update their information should there be any changes.
Disaster preparedness is something that should be maintained throughout the year, not only considered when a disaster is pending. If your HOA needs help getting organized and having the right processes and procedures in place, Kuester is here to help. Contact us to learn more about the wide range of support we can provide to your HOA.