Jun20

Community Association Preparedness

a community that is prepared for hurricane

Community association boards and managers are responsible for preparing their communities for the hurricane season and/or other casualties, we hope that this outline will help prepare boards, managers, their members, and their property for a serious storm and/or other disaster.

Are you prepared? 

Disaster Plan – designating a responsible community member as Disaster Plan Coordinator and another as Information Facilitator to field queries and respond to from community members;

Evacuation Routes – Establish clear building or community evacuation routes and be sure that all community members are provided with copies or printouts and that routes are clearly marked as storms approach; conduct building or community evacuation drills in the weeks leading up to hurricane season;

Emergency Generators & Supplies – Be sure emergency generators are in working order and have adequate fuel supplies, stock a building or community emergency supplies storeroom with flashlights, batteries, water and other necessities for residents and employees in the aftermath of a tropical storm;

Backup Computer Files – Be sure that computer files crucial to running the building and association are backed up to CDs or Portable Storage Devices and keep a list of office computer hardware and software vendors and repairmen in case computers crash or systems fail;

Secure the Premises – Make preparations for routine lockdown of the building or other facilities as a storm approaches, so the building is secure during the storm and safe from vandalism or looting if a hurricane strikes;

List of Owners & Employees – Have on hand a current, hard-copy reference list complete with the names 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;

Photograph or Video Premises – Keep a visual record through video or photographs of premises, facilities and buildings to facilitate damage assessment and speed damage claims in a storm aftermath;

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;

Insurance Policies & Agent Details – Be sure all insurance policies are current and coverage is adequate for community property, facilities and common areas and compliant with State Law; full contact details for insurance companies and agents should be readily available in the event of a storm;

Bank Account Details & Signatories–Keep handy a list of all bank account numbers ,branch locations and authorized association signatories, and make contingency plans for back-up signatories in case evacuation or relocation becomes necessary;

Mitigation of Damages – In the immediate aftermath of a storm, take the necessary steps to mitigate damages — this includes “Drying- In,” which is the placement of tarps on openings in the roof and plywood over blown out doors and windows, and ” Drying –Out,” which is the removal of wet carpet and drywall to prevent the growth of mold;

Debris Removal – Have a plan for speedy removal of debris by maintenance staff, outside contractors or civic public works employees, should a hurricane topple trees and leave debris in its wake;

During a hurricane, you have to protect the expensive components, such as the A/C systems, emergency generator, light and fire systems. These are very costly to repair and replace, so during the storm you will need to disconnect those systems to protect them from power surges. If a surge is too strong, it will fry your systems;

Do not rely solely on the insurance company’s adjuster to evaluate your claim. The insurance company’s adjuster is not there to protect you and your association’s claim. Your board needs to consult with your association counsel who will assist you in retaining your own adjuster and/or engineer or architect to fully evaluate and compile your claim.  All of the foregoing professionals can help ensure that your insurance company maximizes rather than minimizes your anticipated recovery.

Do not sign Contracts without review by counsel even if they are simple. Do not assign benefits and rights without advice from counsel.

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances nor a solicitation of legal business. You are urged to consult an experienced lawyer concerning your particular actual situation and any specific legal questions you may have. No attorney-client relationship attaches as a result of any exchange of information.

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