There is a large and growing population of multi-family condominium, townhome, and apartment residents in our area. We’ve spoken often about preparing your home and/or your boat, but in this article we provide tips and a guide for those running, managing, facilitating, and/or living in a community complex that has unique features and requires unique hurricane preparation.
1. Put your Disaster Plan into Action– Keep open communication lines between property managers and residents to keep everyone posted on the hurricane status as well as action plans.
2. Check Emergency Generators & Supplies – Be sure emergency generators are in working order and have adequate fuel supplies. Stock emergency supplies including flashlights, batteries, additional fuel supplies, water and other necessities for employees in the aftermath of a tropical storm. Keep in mind employees working outside for extended periods will need extra water and break time due to the heat!
3. Photograph or Video Premises – Keep a visual record through video or photographs of premises, facilities and buildings to facilitate damage assessment and speed up damage claims in the aftermath storm.
4. Backup Computer Files – Be sure that computer files crucial to running the building and association are backed up offsite through your management company, online in a cloud storage solution, or on portable storage devices, such as an external hard drive or USB thumb drive. If portable storage is being used, make sure you remove those devices from the property!
5. Secure the Premises – Secure all loose items including outdoor patio furniture, pool deck furniture, storage boxes and accessories such as nets and skimmers. Secure all landscaping items including small planters, garden hoses, exterior wall decorations, etc. Prepare to completely lock down association buildings to keep buildings secure during the storm and safe from vandalism or looting if a hurricane strikes.
6. Check Storm Drains for Debris – Remove any debris that leads to or is potentially blocking storm drains to help reduce the risk of backing up and flooding.
7. Secure your Elevators – Consult your elevator company on how to properly secure your association’s elevators. If it is necessary to shut the elevators down, give as much advance notice to residents as possible so they can prepare accordingly.
8. Shut Down All Pumps – Shut down all pumps for pools, irrigation, and fountains etc. to avoid potential damage to water pump motors.
9. Be familiar with the location of all water shutoff valves and power boxes – They may need to be shut off if an evacuation is ordered (dependent on association’s disaster plans).
10. Contact List of Owners, Board Members & Employees – Have an up-to-date hard-copy reference list on hand, complete with the names of all property owners, emergency contact numbers, and details of second residence addresses, as well as a list of all association employees, with full contact details.
11. Complete Vendor List with Contact Information – Have a complete list of all association vendors on hand with contact information so you can quickly call in repairs on association property if needed.
12. Building and Facilities Plans – Make sure a complete set of building or community plans are readily available for consultation by first-responders, utilities workers, and insurance adjusters following a storm.
13. Insurance Policies & Agent Details – Be sure all insurance policies are current; full contact details for insurance companies and agents should be readily available in the event of a storm.
14. Bank Account Details & Signatories – Keep a list of all bank account numbers, branch locations, and authorized association signatories. Have petty cash and/or copies of handwritten checks on hand to use in the event credit cards, debit cards, and computer checks are not available due to loss of electricity.
15. Be prepared to evacuate if a mandatory evacuation order has been issued!
For more Hurricane Preparedness resources visit:
FEMA Hurricane Website – http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
National Weather Service Hurricane Center – http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/