When Disaster Strikes, Will Your Community Be Ready? Part Two

When Disaster Strikes, Will Your Community Be Ready?

Part Two

Published August 2018

Photo by iStockphoto.com/3DSculptor

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of multiple best practices on preparing your community for a hurricane and what to do after the hurricane to help your community recover from it. The first part was published in the July issue and can be accessed at www.fcapgroup.com/flcaj/flcaj-articles/when-disaster-strikes-will-your-community-be-ready/.

Preparing the Structure for a Mandatory Evacuation

By Doug Weinstein, VP of Operations

     It is imperative that all properties have a comprehensive protocol for preparing the structure for a mandatory evacuation. Exact plans need to be put in place as to which mechanical systems will be taken off line and when. This includes elevators, cooling towers, and any exposed rooftop equipment. Boards must keep in mind that while this will inconvenience those residents who choose to stay, it is a life safety issue. First responders will not free a resident from a stuck elevator in the middle of a hurricane. After the storm it is just as critical that all this equipment is checked and cleaned of debris before recommissioning.

     For more information, call (954) 843-2526 or visit AKAM On-Site at www.akam.com.

Hurricane Season—Staying Ahead of a Financial Storm

By Lisa Elkan, VP/Association Financial Partner

     Before or after a natural disaster strikes, banking relationships probably aren’t a first thought. That’s why considering how your association finances fit into your emergency plan should start before any storm predictions do.

Financial Planning Tips:

     Account Signers: Ensure signers are current and decide who will be available directly after a disaster to pay deductibles or repairs. Contingency fund pre-planning can be rendered useless without correct signers.

     Insurance Planning: Ensure the board knows exact association insurance coverages, so you can plan paying deductibles or repairs that aren’t covered. Review possible financing solutions before a storm hits and use the tips to help navigate capricious situations. Knowing your contingency plans and options will help your association to avoid costly mistakes and unpredictable results. 

     For more information, contact Alliance Association Bank at (561) 212-2091 or email LElkan@allianceassociation.

Remove All Items from the Balcony

By Ryan Poliakoff

     For high-rise communities, ensure that your procedures and rules provide for the removal of all items from balconies, and for owners or the association to close all hurricane shutters within 24 hours after a tropical storm or hurricane watch is declared. Even when owners are responsible for hurricane preparation in their own units, property managers should inspect the entire property to ensure compliance in advance of the storm.

For more information on Backer Aboud Poliakoff & Foelster, call (800) 251-3562 or visit www.bapflaw.com.

Take These Steps to Be Better Prepared

By Craig Finck, Sr. Relationship Manager, Association Services

     When planning for hurricane season, here are a few things associations can do to be better prepared. To begin with, a current reserve study or asset inventory is a must. This tool will help to identify and quantify all of those things that the association has responsibility for in the event of a catastrophe, with a good idea of what the potential cost would be to replace these items. Additionally, a comprehensive conversation with your insurance provider will help an association understand what would not be covered by insurance if a claim needs to be made. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to take these important steps.  

     For more information on Centennial Bank, call (866) 227-0442 or visit my100bank.com/associations.

Preparing Your Pool for the Hurricane Season

By Alvaro Mendoza

  • Lower the water level 3–12 inches below its existing level to accommodate heavy rains.
  • Do not drain the pool completely.
  • Do not operate the circulating pump after draining the pool water to avoid pump damage.
  • Add extra chlorine to avoid contamination.
  • Secure and cover any pertinent outdoor-mounted pumps, filters, chemical feeders, and vats with a waterproof covering.
  • Turn off the electricity to the pool equipment at the breaker and not the pump.
  • Bring patio furniture indoors. Do not throw furniture in the pool.
  • Bring in all deck and maintenance equipment and chemicals normally stored outside so that they do not become projectiles in heavy winds.

     For more information on Commercial Energy Specialists, call (800) 940-1557 or visit www.ceswaterquality.com.

Hurricane Safety and Security Tips

By Brie Peterson

     Have a security plan in place prior to a hurricane or natural disaster. First, make a directory of contacts and vendors whom you will need to contact during or after a storm to help restore the community. Make sure this information and other important documents are backed up. For gated communities, determine whether or not your gates or barrier arms will fail open or fail locked. Many will open for quick outflow of vehicles and easy access for emergency responders. Ask your security provider about the company’s disaster plan. Finally, maintain communication with residents and on-site employees. Everyone should be aware of preparations prior to a storm, as well as the recovery process and when it is safe to return to the community.

     For more information on Envera Systems, call (855) 380-1274 or visit www.EnveraSystems.com.

Water Damage

By Richard Lundberg, Vice President & Principal Engineer

     Water damage occurs during a hurricane event. Even when a breach does not occur in the roof or exterior walls, water intrusion does and will occur through windows and doors. Even the most robust hurricane-rated windows and doors will leak during a severe wind-driven event like a hurricane. A simple step to reduce the spread of water is the placement of towels on window sills, floors immediately below, and around door bottoms.

     For more information on Forge Engineering, call (239) 514-4100 or visit www.forgeeng.com.

Prepare for the Worst

By Chabeli Farinas

     Hurricane season officially started on June 1 and usually lasts around six months. While sometimes we are lucky enough to pass through this season without so much as a tropical storm, we should always prepare for the worst. Standard doors and windows are manufactured to withstand high wind speeds, but they are not made to withstand the impact of flying debris. This is why you should consider installing quality, impact-resistant windows and doors.  Impact grade windows and doors are constructed to keep the glass from breaking away from its frame during heavy impact. Furthermore, they can guard against forced entry, noise, UV light, and heating and cooling loss. These products are a guaranteed and safe way of keeping you and your loved ones safe year-round.

For more information on General Impact Windows and Doors, call (866) 646-2882 or visit www.generalimpact.com.

Have a Customized Plan

By Kevin M. Carroll, President & CEO

     Communities managed by Lang receive complete support in hurricane disaster planning and post-storm recovery. Our mission is to protect and preserve all property before, during, and after. Most importantly, the ability to resume normal operations post-storm is our number one priority for all our managed properties.

     Associations should have a customized plan for their community with detailed guidelines to ensure safe and coordinated team service efforts. To better prepare for emergencies, familiarize yourself with the Hurricane Survival Guide for your county. Be sure to obtain a complete listing for stores and gas stations with generators in your area in the event of extended power failures.

     For more information on Lang Management Company, call (561) 750-8800 or visit www.langmgmt.com.

Before the Storm

By Thomas J. Morgan, Jr., Esq.

      Two easy pre-storm steps can greatly assist with making an insurance claim easier after a storm. The first step—simply write down the list of individuals or vendors who were present on the property to assist with preparation measures. This can be handymen installing shutters or last second landscaping vendors brought in to trim trees or remove debris. Second, take photographs of the property!  This is an easy step that can be done with a phone. Taking photos and videos of the property, even though it is not a detail of everything, shows the overall condition of the property at the time preparations were put into place. This should include not only the building’s interior and exterior, but any facilities such as a clubhouse or pool house, as well as the general landscaping.

These simple steps of documentation will, at a minimum, allow for some clarification and understanding of the property’s condition prior to the storm.

For more information on the Morgan Law Group P.A., call (888) 904-CLAIM or visit www.PolicyAdvocate.com.

Associations Turning to SOX to Repair Eroding Shorelines

By Brian Fischer, President

     During hurricane season, community associations should be aware of shoreline damages along waterways and lakes bordering golf course fairways. These problems should be addressed now to avoid further erosion in the event of storms this year and to make communities safer for residents.

By viewing the shorelines from the water, you may see the following:

  • Homes are flooding as backyards fall into canals and rivers. Some homes are falling into waterways.
  • Collapsed land causes dangerous conditions for people walking in backyards. Likewise, the collapsed land is unsafe for maintenance and landscape workers.
  • These situations are magnified along golf courses where injuries occur to players and workers.
  • Cable and electrical lines are left exposed, resulting in costly repairs,

     Associations are turning to the SOX solution, which involves installing a knitted mesh along eroded shorelines. The mesh is filled with locally-sourced fill, top soil, or compost/dredged material. It is then anchored to the shoreline. Plants, grass, and other vegetation are planted and rooted through the mesh, creating a long-lasting, environmentally sound solution.

     For more information on SOX Erosion Solutions, visit www.soxerosion.com.

Pre-Storm Planning for Homeowners Associations

By Andrea Jamel

     Critical projects and resources should be selected upon notice with approval in advance; resources must be ready, willing, and able to respond when needed.

Emergency Services Plan:

  • Establish in writing, in advance, if the management company is expected to oversee clean-up, emergency services, and restoration projects.
  • Create an emergency services plan identifying vendors, costs, and who is responsible for payment.

Emergency Repair Payments:

     A board member should be in possession of at least two signed checks to pay for emergency services if needed.

     For more information on TRC Worldwide Engineering, call (954) 484-7777 ext. 218 or visit RestorationTRC.com.