REALMANAGE encourages all associations to have a Hurricane Preparedness Plan for pre and post storm action and follow up. This plan should be reviewed and updated by the Board of Directors annually, communicated to the members and the association’s service providers and staff, where applicable. To prepare for the worst storm scenario will help you weather whatever comes your way. The post-storm follow-up is very important as well.
Preparing for the Storm:
1. Set your plan in writing and publish it to your members – let them know what their responsibilities are and where they turn for assistance after the storm when it is not the Association’s responsibility or ability to assist them.
2. Have a meeting with your service providers and get buy-in from all of them, confirming their emergency protocol is in line with what your association needs are.
3. Document and update your files on all community assets – buildings, amenities, and take photos. Make sure all of your assets are listed on the insurance schedule because most carriers will not write additional coverage when there is a named storm in the Gulf.
4. To the extent possible, arrange for someone (staff or vendor) to secure pool furniture (if furniture can’t be stored inside a building, put it in the pool itself) and secure windows on buildings. Suggestion: purchase and precut plywood to fit all exposed windows and label them and store nearby for easy access. Don’t wait – plywood will be in high demand and short supply.
5. Large hanging light fixtures should be removed and placed in storage.
6. Remove and store tennis court windscreens, roller drys, tidi-courts, etc.
7. Leave electricity to pool pumps on for self-priming pumps.
8. Have pool company or a trained volunteer on stand by for dealing with a flooded pool.
9. With adequate time permitted, all irrigation systems should be turned off.
10. Evaluate your common area trees and prune/cut down any trees that are a safety hazard or could cause damage to your common area facilities.
11. If you have a lot of trees in your community, arrange for a tree service to be on your property as soon as it is safe to travel. Meet a representative to assess damages, tree removal, and protection to limit your tree loss and damage to other assets in the community.
12. If you have lakes, work with your lake maintenance service provider to understand how your lake drainage and outfall systems work; know where the outfall is and assign two people to make sure it is clear of debris and flowing when the storm is over.
13. For sanitary sewer and water for the residents, have the emergency contact information posted and available, and information on the emergency generator's capability.
14. If you have on-site staff, patrol staff, gate staff – discuss the evacuation plan, schedule, and the return to duty protocol/schedule.
15. All Board members should have contact information for their manager and a back-up staff person, and there should be a communication plan in place where the Board and the Manager know who does what before, during and after the storm.
1. After the storm passes, it is vital to get out onto the common areas as soon as it is safe to make a thorough and well documented assessment of the damage that the storm has brought. Detailed lists, photographs and a call to the insurance company to notify them that a claim will be filed.
2. A Post Storm Property Tour should include a complete tour of the community concentrating on all association fixed assets and common areas first to assess what service providers may need to be called out and in what order. Then drive the community to determine what damage may have been caused to residents’ homes.
3. Take whatever reasonable actions are necessary for temporary repairs and clean up to mitigate further loss and damage but make sure to have these actions well documented.
4. The residents are going to look to the Association for information; regardless of whether it is association responsibility or not. Gather as much information as you can from the local emergency management offices and make it available. Find out what the city or county will do to assist your association in clean up of debris – this may take some time to confirm but it is worth the calls.
5. Keep the residents informed of the progress of the common area clean up – if you don’t have electricity, and then post an update on bulletin boards. They will feel more comfortable seeing communication and updates.
6. Meet with the insurance adjuster and give them all the information they are asking for. Start getting bids for repairs and not wait for the adjusters. Get in line as early as possible with contractors as the wait may be very long depending on the type of repairs you may need. Document each visit and each communiqué.
7. Follow the claim through and don’t sit back and assume that it will work its way through the process on its own. Assign a champion (should be the manager) to keep in contact with the insurance company – the squeakiest wheel gets the grease most of the time.
8. In some cases you may not be satisfied with the proposed settlement. It is suggested that if you are uncomfortable with a suggested settlement that you consult your association’s attorney for advice on what your next step should be.
9. At the end of the experience, you want to review, re-evaluate, adjust where necessary and get ready for the next hurricane season.