Hurricane season has barely begun and already there has been a category 1 storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The most active months tend to be August and September meaning things are just getting started. Now is the time for HOAs to ensure that they have proper emergency plans in place in case a hurricane or other major storm or disaster should strike. Kuester Management Group has released a statement to the press regarding steps HOAs can take to prepare themselves and their members for severe weather.
“While there tends to be a good bit of warning regarding approaching hurricanes, once the storm forms is not the time to finally start thinking about what the HOA should be doing,” says Bryan Kuester, President of Kuester Management Group. “The board wants to ensure that it stays on top of preparations and is just making last minute adjustments as needed rather than trying to come up with an entire plan within a few days.”
One area that HOAs can stay abreast of far in advance is insurance coverage. Review policies annually to verify that they are up-to-date and provide the right amount of coverage to fit the association’s needs. Don’t forget that flood insurance is often a separate policy, so make sure it isn’t overlooked.
Another area that can be continuously maintained is data security. Kuester encourages HOAs to regularly backup files both online and at an offsite location just in case. Work with homeowners to update their contact information so everything is current. Remind them to backup their own files and review their personal insurance policies.
“Create a master plan for the community as well,” says Kuester. “Who will be the point person in the event of an emergency? Who is ensuring that amenities are secured, windows are boarded up, outdoor furniture is stored away, and other precautions are in place? What agreements are in place with service providers for before, during, and after a storm? These are all things that shouldn’t – and can’t – wait until the last minute to be decided or it will simply add unnecessary chaos and confusion.”
It can be a good idea to communicate pertinent resources to homeowners as well. Let them know what supplies to stock up on, how to prepare their homes, what stations to tune into on emergency radios for more information, and what the designated evacuation routes are. Remind them to make their own safety a top priority and not to try to ride out storms when evacuations are strongly recommended or mandated.
The Carolinas are not immune to hurricanes and have been devastated by storms in the past. It is better to be over prepared than under prepared. The more documentation and procedures the HOA can put in place, the better. This can help things to run more smoothly because there are clear steps to be followed during times when individuals may not be thinking as clearly.
“Be alert and work with your property manager to think through issues that need to be addressed before a storm ever forms,” says Kuester. “Look at the big picture and how the HOA may be impacted before, during, and after a hurricane.”
Kuester Management Group works with HOAs throughout the Carolinas to improve communication and address association needs in a timely, effective manner. Learn more about the wide variety of services Kuester has to offer by visiting www.kuester.com.
Kuester Management Group, a division of Kuester Companies, works to protect property values and enhance the quality of life in each of its managed communities. Providing a full range of association management services, Kuester Management Group has worked to foster strong, resilient, and unified communities across North and South Carolina. The company is proud to offer on-site property managers, all zealous for building strong communities meant to stand the test of time.
More information is available at www.kuester.com or @KuesterCompany.