The condominium board members, homeowners and tenants of the island’s many condominium developments are aware of the unique elements of condominium living. Even hurricane preparedness takes on a different meaning at condominium developments as the entire condominium community must partner together to ensure success.
“Emergency preparedness is a team sport”, according to Eric Whitaker, a public health and emergency preparedness expert. In the interest of helping your condominium community during hurricane season here are some preparation tips for your team members:
Board Members and/or Property Manager
- Plan – Create your hurricane preparedness plan. Establish roles before, during and after an extreme weather event.
- Communicate – Share critical information with your community, including pre-storm plans, storm procedures, emergency response numbers and information on shut downs of major building systems. Residents should also understand their roles when it comes to securing their private property.
- Think high-tech and traditional – digital files and documents should be backed up and safely stored. Have on hand up-to-date, hard copy reference lists of contact details for all owners and residents as well as insurance representatives, landscapers and repairmen
- Review your insurance policy – make sure it’s current and that you understand the limits, exclusions and deductibles beforehand
- Liaise with service providers – provide vendors with expectations for securing their equipment and fulfilling vital roles before and after a storm. Have an understanding of what level of commitment to expect from your landscaping, security, maintenance and construction vendors should your community become damaged
- Prepare the property – If you have generators, ensure they are properly maintained, tested and that there is an adequate supply of fuel available. Keep trees trimmed and minimize debris stored on site. Evaluate areas that may be prone to flooding and ensure storm drains are clear. Set aside adequate space to store common area items such as pool furniture. Assess the property for areas of weakness; loose railings, gates and light fixtures can cause property damage during high winds
Owners and Residents
- Prepare your property – Secure your outdoor furniture, barbecues and plant pots
- Check and double check – ensure that your windows, doors and shutters close properly and all hardware is in working order. If not, enquire with the responsible party for repairs (this varies from one development to another)
- Communicate – The communication sent from the condominium board or property manager is important; take some time to understand the information sent to you and ask questions if certain aspects are unclear. Take note of the appropriate individuals for reporting damages post-event.
- Review your insurance policy – the condominium’s property policy will not cover your personal effects if damaged so you should obtain contents insurance.
With a collaborative team approach to preparedness, the impact of Hurricane season on you and your condominium development can be successfully managed.