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Hurricane Preparedness for Condominiums: Who is Responsible?

Posted by Jimmy Hawley on Mar 25, 2015 9:30:00 AM

HurricanePreparednessCondosIf you're a member of a condo association or board, you may be wondering what your responsibilities are when it comes to hurricane preparedness. It's easy to assume that all responsibilities fall on the individual unit owners, but there are some aspects of hurricane preparedness that you're responsible for. Unit owners have their own individual responsibilities as well, but it's important to understand that there are certain measures you need to take before the start of hurricane season.
Hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th every year, and the best time to prepare for a hurricane is during the off-season. Preparing early means that your residents and building will be better prepared when a storm does hit.

If you're unsure of who is responsible for different tasks when it comes to hurricane preparedness, here's a breakdown of responsibilities for both you and your unit owners:

Responsibilities of unit owners

As a general rule of thumb, unit owners are responsible for taking care of their individual units and for making sure the condo association has updated contact information. Here are some of the main responsibilities of unit owners:

Before a hurricane

  • Ensure that the condo association has updated contact information
  • Install hurricane protection such as impact windows and doors, hurricane shutters, hurricane screens, etc.
  • Purchase a condo insurance and consider adding a flood policy
  • Create a survival kit

After a hurricane warning

  • Move all furniture inside
  • Find an interior room with no windows that will provide the most shelter
  • Keep up-to-date with the local news or weather channel
  • Deploy hurricane protection

After an evacuation order

  • Check local evacuation routes
  • Unplug all electronics and place all electronics at the highest possible elevation
  • Shut off water and electricity in the unit

After a hurricane

  • Return to unit only when it's deemed safe, and always proceed with caution

Responsibilities of condo associations

As a condo association, one of your main responsibilities is to create all applicable policies prior to the start of hurricane season, such as a hurricane preparedness guide and hurricane shutter policy. Here are some of your additional responsibilities before, during, and after a storm:

Before a hurricane
  • Create a hurricane preparedness guide and hurricane shutter policy
  • Make sure you have up-to-date contact information for all unit owners
  • Create a list of known vendors that may be useful after a storm (plumbers, landscapers, electricians, insurance contacts, etc.)

After a hurricane warning

  • Set an emergency meeting for the board and management teams to review the hurricane plan and discuss responsibilities
  • Ensure that all electronic records are backed up and that all hard copies are stored in watertight containers
  • Bring in all outside property such as pool furniture, plants, recycling bins, etc.
  • Deploy hurricane protection for the building's main windows and doors

After an evacuation order

  • Communicate the evacuation order to all residents
  • Provide evacuation assistance to anyone who may need it
  • Disable all elevators after residents have evacuated

After a hurricane

  • When possible, return to the property to survey any damage and to take pictures
  • Communicate with residents on a regular basis to inform them of the status of the property and to let them know when they can return home
  • Hold a board meeting to discuss the next steps
  • File any necessary insurance claims immediately
  • Call approved vendors as needed

These lists are not exhaustive, and there are other steps both you and your residents should take before, during, and after a hurricane. The best thing you can do for your community and residents is to start preparing as early as possible and to ensure that all policies are in place prior to the start of hurricane season.

Interested in learning more about hurricane preparedness for condo associations? Download our free eBook, "Hurricane Protection and Preparedness Guide for Community Associations":
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Topics: Hurricane Preparedness