Preparing Your Association for Hurricane Season
Summer is quickly approaching, and that means hurricane season! Hurricane preparedness comes as second nature for most Floridians. Even so, HOAs and COAs have certain responsibilities when it comes to keeping communities safe from natural disasters. Keep reading to learn more about hurricane preparedness!
Your Top Priorities: Keep People Safe and Minimize Property Damage
Resident safety is your primary goal! Ensure that everyone knows how to safely shelter in place during high winds, heavy rains, and flooding. You can provide basic hurricane safety checklists to help people stay on top of best practices.
As a HOA or COA, keeping properties safe is very important as well. While some things are out of your control, there are things you can do to minimize property damage. For example:
- Ensure that each residence has storm shutters and require that they use them in case of a hurricane.
- Ensure the removal of any dangerous tree limbs that are likely to fall and cause damage during the next storm.
- Require that all outdoor furniture is secured or brought inside before a storm.
If you don’t already have these types of rules or recommendations in place, discuss them at your next HOA or COA meeting.
Provide Regular Updates to Residents
Not all members of your association will stay on top of emergency updates. If there is a hurricane coming, it’s helpful for you to provide information to your residents. Offer resources, especially if you have residents who are new to living in Florida. You can provide updates through bulletins, flyers, social media, or other forms of communication. Most importantly, you should ensure that your residents know about emergency procedures and evacuation plans.
Also, ensure that you can stay in touch even without power. Have a backup generator in any areas where power is necessary. Remind residents to charge their cell phones beforehand so that they can call for help if they need it.
Have a Plan for Minimizing Damage to Common Areas
It’s difficult to predict how bad a hurricane will be, so it’s essential to prepare for the worst. Always have a detailed checklist for securing common areas to make sure you don’t forget anything. For example, if your association has common areas with patio furniture, it is your responsibility to make sure everything is secured. If there are trees on the property, you’ll need to have them inspected and get dead branches trimmed.
Make sure nothing slips through the cracks by assigning tasks to the appropriate people ahead of time. With proper delegation and a detailed checklist, you can have peace of mind when you evacuate. You’ll know that everything was taken care of and that you did the best you could do protect your association’s property.
Secure All Important Information
Hurricanes have the potential to completely destroy property or disrupt power. Both of these could result in the deletion of important information. Part of COA or HOA preparedness for hurricanes is ensuring that you won’t lose any important information. Back up all information to the cloud and/or a secondary device.
Be Ready to Deal with Damages
Part of hurricane preparedness is being ready to deal with the aftermath of the storm in a timely manner. This may involve having the right tools and power equipment on hand for storm cleanup. It might also mean maintaining a good relationship with professionals who can help out, such as landscapers who will remove fallen limbs and branches.
Take Photos Beforehand in Case of Insurance Claims
Before the storm hits, you should take pictures and videos of your property for your insurance. That way, if you submit a claim after the hurricane has passed, your insurance has proof that the storm has caused property damage.
It’s all too easy to let your insurance policies get out of date. Before the storm comes, you should review your insurance policy and make sure it covers things like flooding, roof damage, and window damage.
After the Hurricane, Get in Contact with Your Residents
Once the hurricane has blown through and you’re able to safely return, get in contact with each of your residents. This will not only help you record and discover damages, but will also help you make sure that everyone is okay.
Ask your residents if they need any support from the association. Then, follow through with any contact or communication you’ve promised.
Record All Damages and Notify Insurance Companies
In the aftermath of a storm, you’ll need to record all of the damages just as you recorded your property before the damages. In order to properly file an insurance claim, you need to document the damages extensively. Take photos or videos and write detailed descriptions of the damages. Don’t hesitate to reach out to residents to ensure that you aren’t missing anything.
If you’ve found and recorded damages, it’s important to contact the necessary people. You may have multiple people that need contacting in order to file the correct insurance claims. Some associations require different insurance for flood damages versus roof damages.
Know the Law
HOA and COA law require certain policies and laws are met and followed. While local law may influence this, you should follow the following guidelines:
- Hold regular board meetings in regards to both preparation and any current hurricane predictions.
- Follow all emergency advice, including evacuations.
- Repair all damages necessary (according to your HOA or COA contract and local laws).
Being prepared for a hurricane may also mean updating your contracts or constitutions. Make sure that your constitutions and contracts fully abide by local and state laws regarding hurricane preparedness.
Contact LM Funding Today
Getting ready for hurricane season can be a difficult task. There are tremendous risks involved when it comes to unpredictable natural disasters, and a lot of work goes into HOA preparedness and minimizing the chance of property damage. Knowing your finances are in order can provide you with peace of mind knowing you can weather any storm. Give LM Funding a call for a free financial audit before this hurricane season!