Preparing for the 2015 Hurricane Season
The Atlantic hurricane season is defined as running from June 1 through November 30. No one bothered to tell that to Tropical Storm Ana which hit South Carolina over the weekend. The Ana had sustained winds of 45 mph at landfall and brought anywhere between 2″-6″ of rain depending on location. The early start of the hurricane season does not mean that we will necessarily have more hurricanes or what the severity of those hurricanes will be. However, it is always good to be prepared and plan ahead. The next few weeks will be important to finalize, or even start, our personal and business hurricane preparedness plans. Even if you do not have one yet there is still time to prepare.
Below is a 12-point Hurricane Preparedness Checklist for condominium and homeowner associations to prepare for the 2015 hurricane season:
1. Disaster Plan – If you have a disaster plan be ready to implement it. At a minimum, designate a responsible community member as Disaster Plan Coordinator and another as Information Facilitator to field queries and respond to from community members. These individuals should be outside the impacted areas so that they can field and disseminate information.
2. Evacuation Routes – Establish clear building or community evacuation routes and be sure that all community members are provided with copies. It may be a good idea to conduct a building or community evacuation drills.
3. Emergency Generators & Supplies – Verify 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.
4. Backup Computer Files – Be sure that computer files crucial to running the building and association, including the governing documents and original plans and specifications for the building, 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.
5. Secure the Premises – Make preparations for routine lockdown of the building or other facilities so the building is secure during the storm and safe from vandalism or looting if a hurricane strikes.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Insurance Policies & Agent Details – It is too late to obtain new windstorm or flood insurance which would cover Hurricane Isaac, but secure copies of all current insurance policies along with contact details for insurance companies and agents.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Debris Removal – Have a plan for speedy removal of debris by maintenance staff, outside contractors or civic public works employees.
For more information, we have several pre-recorded webinars devoted to disaster planning, contracting and restoration of casualty damages. Please go to Becker & Poliakoff Webinars to view the webinars available for download.