Late summer and early fall are the most active months of the year when it comes to hurricanes.
Does your HOA (Homeowners Association) have a hurricane plan in place? Are the financial information, contracts, and other important data stored using cloud-based software for disaster continuation?
Hurricane season lasts for six months, from June 1 until November 30. That’s a long time, and there’s a pretty high probability that one will impact you if you’re located in a hurricane-prone area.
What has your HOA put in place for disaster recovery and business continuity to protect your community during hurricane season and beyond?
10 Must-Follow Tips to Prepare Your HOA for a Hurricane
While the path and intensity of a hurricane are uncontrollable, an HOA’s hurricane preparedness is manageable. You just need to put some energy into disaster recovery planning.
The following tasks should be completed before NOAA’s National Hurricane Center reports on the first disturbance of the season.
Back up data to a cloud computing-based platform like TOPS [ONE].
Paper files and even external drives are easily damaged by water leading to information loss and hardware failure. Storing everything in a cloud environment is the smart thing to do when it comes to the business side of natural disaster preparedness. Cloud services ensure that data can be easily recovered and help you return to business-as-usual efficiently.
Establish a written plan and share it with all HOA members. Upload it to your cloud-based software
or data center for access in the event of a disaster. The plan should include individual responsibilities, the evacuation plan, the return to duty and recovery time objective, and a plan in case the board needs to hold an emergency meeting.
Update current lists of residents, staff, and service providers, including names and contact information. Save the data in your HOA software and print out copies, too, in case the internet and power go out.
Secure a copy of the HOA’s governing documents
, a certified copy of insurance policies, vendor contracts, and banking information
in a waterproof container. You should already have all of this stored in the cloud too.
Capture and save date-stamped pictures and videos of all assets and property belonging to the HOA. Take a photographic inventory of community spaces, offices, equipment, pool areas, signs, landscaping, etc.
Verify the proper insurance is in place. If any amenities are new since your renewal, ensure they are added before June. Most insurance carriers will not add coverage when there’s a live hurricane.
Pre-negotiate your vendor contracts with those who will assist in the clean up after the storm, and ensure you understand the service level agreements. Remember to get everything reviewed by your lawyer before signing!
Help your residents to prepare by sending out a map of their evacuation route and a comprehensive list of the items they need to have in their hurricane kit. Here’s a list of some of the staple items they’ll need:
- Social security card
- Passport and ID
- Candles and lighters
- Water and non-perishable food
- Cash and credit cards
Gather the tools and supplies required to board up and secure windows. Purchase plywood or another covering that can sustain high winds. Cut the plywood down and label it for each window or glass door before a hurricane.
Write any letters you’ll send out to residents after the storm. TOPS [ONE]
has pre-written messages that can be customized to communicate with homeowners easily.
Complete the above-listed tasks before the hurricane season. When your city is in a projected hurricane path, the HOA board members will be dealing with the stresses of their own home.
Final Preparations Your HOA Must Make for a Hurricane
As technology advances, we’re getting more and more notice of forecasted storms. In the days before a hurricane strikes, there will be a few final preparations an HOA needs to complete.
Review the written plan with all board members so that they understand the protocol and their responsibilities.
- Secure anything that could blow away or get damaged, such as pool furniture, tennis court netting, and any
unaffixed landscaping elements.
- Cover all windows with pre-cut and pre-labeled plywood or other covering.
- Turn off irrigation systems that can add unnecessary water to flooded streets.
- Prune trees back that could cause damage to any of the association’s amenities.
- Identify who is staying in the building if it’s a condominium, as emergency response teams may need this information in the event of a disaster.
Be prepared! Hurricanes are unpredictable and extremely stressful. Invest in a cloud-based service like TOPS [ONE]
to manage your HOA, and you’ll have one less worry knowing that your digital files will be safe after the storm is gone.
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