In Florida, we’re never really out of the woods when it comes to hurricane planning and storm preparation. For condo associations in particular, hurricane preparation is a shared responsibility between individual unit owners and the association at large. If you’re a board member of your condo association, one of your important responsibilities is to create and institute policies and procedures to safeguard your residents and property as best you can. That means taking prudent steps to develop a hurricane action plan – before it’s too late. Here’s where to start:
Before the storm:
- Gather and regularly update contact information for all unit owners. You should also have a telephone roster for the board, management, maintenance personnel, and emergency service agencies. The roster should include their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Safeguard the condo association’s official records. This may include the Articles of Incorporation, Declaration of Condominium, association by-laws, insurance policies, and more. All important documents should be stored safely. For example, saving files on a USB drive in a watertight container and off-site/in the cloud are good precautionary measures.
- Take an inventory of your property – video and photograph the exterior property as well as interior common elements so you have records of the state of your facility prior to any damage. Again, be sure to store documentation in a safe location. For example, saving files on a USB drive in a watertight container and off-site are good precautionary measures.
- Locate your building and facilities plan and make sure they are accurate. The may be needed by vendors or insurance adjusters after the storm.
- Review insurance policy(ies) – Understand your coverage and be sure to communicate with all unit owners about your insurance and liability.
- Update a vendor list of services that will be most needed after a storm. Be sure to include contact information and a contact name if you have one.
- Maintain property grounds and landscaping to minimize potential damage from debris.
- Take inventory of emergency supplies as well as any supplies or property owned by the association, such as vans, golf carts, walkie-talkies, generators, etc.
- Create a disaster/evacuation committee that is prepared to act in the event of an emergency.
During the storm:
- Ensure that all records are safely backed up remotely, in the cloud, and/or in watertight containers.
- Secure outdoor furniture, plants, etc. and protect the building’s windows and doors.
- Host an emergency board meeting as necessary to discuss and implement the hurricane action plan.
- Maintain strong communication with residents and communicate an evacuation order, if needed.
After the storm:
- Survey and document any damage by taking pictures and video.
- Continue communicating with unit owners to keep them informed of the property status and safety concerns.
- Get in touch with your insurance company to files claims if any damage occurred.
Hurricane preparation is something condo associations need to be thinking about year-round. Planning and active preparation is really your best line of defense against the next big storm. If you have questions about how to prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm, get in touch with us at Dania Fernandez & Associates, P.A. by calling 305-254-4492.