Is your community prepared to encounter any emergency situation that arises? Are staff appropriately informed of their role in such occurrences? Disasters, whether they are anticipated, or occur suddenly without any warning have serious implications for your residential community and management. Due to natural disasters or those caused by human beings, buildings or homes may be destroyed, individuals may be displaced from their homes, or it could result in injury or loss of life. Damage to building, landscaping, and community equipment can have serious financial implications for management. Community managers must be fully prepared to handle these types of disasters. Tread carefully, but act fast.
Evaluate Current Process for Disaster Recovery
Before you start drafting a disaster aversion and recovery plan, stop and take stock of your current process and the procedures in place. Your existing plan and experience dealing with past circumstances will inform you of efficiencies and inefficiencies for further improvement. Consider the following questions to help shape your evaluations:
Current Plan (High-Level)
- Does your company or association have a documented disaster recovery plan in place? How well documented and executed is it?
- Has your team tabulated a list of the most likely and least likely disasters to occur in your area(s)?
- Does the recovery plan include preparedness for averting controllable situations and recovery if the event were to occur?
- What resources, tangible and intangible, are required to fully execute the plan? How must those resources be utilized?
- Where do you keep all your data? Physical files, drawers, hard-drive, company share drive, and/or cloud software? Is the information easily accessible or transferable when necessary?
Team and Community Preparation & Safety
- Are staff members aware of the intricacies of the plan? Are they well practiced in the responsibilities they are required to perform?
- Is the management team supplied with sufficient emergency kits and other necessities such as water bottles, flashlights, batteries, etc? Is anyone on the team certified in CPR?
- How are residents currently notified of any emergencies? Are emergency contacts easily accessible to residents?
- How well are residents prepared for anticipated emergencies?
- How secure or robust are the community buildings or equipment?
- Is there a process for quickly dispatching maintenance staff once safe?
- Have you properly secured all community property and equipment and posted notices online and offline informing residents?
- How are residents informed of any equipment, building, or ground repairs once the storm/emergency is over?
- Is the plan compliant with local, state, and federal regulations? Community bylaws?
- What are the board member’s responsibilities in shaping current procedures?
- Is the community management’s insurance coverage sufficient?
- Do you have a clear camera to take photos in case of potential damage to buildings to provide to insurance agents?
Evaluating your current process or plan is the way forward to making changes for the better of your community. Knowing what the right questions to ask and where to find the answers are critical. Head on to Part 2 of the emergency preparation blog series, we’ll discuss components for creating a disaster aversion and preparedness plan.
Pilera Software is a premier community management solution that provides managers with a simple way to communicate with residents during an emergency. Send phone, email, or text; choose one out of 90 languages to send automated email and text messages to residents; deliver emergency messages via Reverse 911, and schedule messages up to two weeks in advance. Contact us for more information.