There is always the possibility that a disaster may affect your community. Whether it be a tornado, a flood, a hurricane, snowstorm, duststorm or human related disasters, it is better to have a plan to handle it before it happens than to react after it happens.
Many Boards of Directors spend considerable time, effort and money planning for the betterment of the community. Tough decisions are made on the different varieties of flowers at the front entrance, the color of tile or carpet in the clubhouse and what type of social activities they will offer. While these types of decisions are necessary, the Board should always keep in mind the main goal of the association business.
The association’s main goal should be stated in their mission statement. Every association has basically the same mission statement: To repair, replace and maintain the common areas of the community thereby enhancing the value of the property on behalf of the owners. Enforcing the covenants, while maintaining a spirit of community.
It is the ethical responsibility of the governing body of the association – the board of directors – to fulfill the mandate to focus its concerns toward the property. It is incumbent upon the board to spend some time creating disaster preparedness plans. Most likely the manager will compile the actual information, but the Board must give the manager the direction, cooperation and time to do so. Is the contemplation of a disaster a pleasant task? Not in the least, but when the plan is finished, the Board can pat itself on the back and say “job well done”. Now, let’s hope you never have to use it. But if you do, the plan is there.
Following are some of the best practices and suggestions used by managers over the past several years. These managers were privileged to have boards that took the high road and helped their managers to make plans for the foreseeable disasters that could happen on their property.
After a storm, Hurricane or Tornado, have enough:
Fires, whether wild fires or domestic:
Other crises to consider:
While not as devastating as the incidents listed above, can cause health problems to residents or damage to common areas and should be dealt with.
FEMA.gov has an excellent web site with information on cleaning up after the storm; contacting your insurance company and making insurance claims; government assistance that is available. The Red Cross also has an excellent website for reference. Plan now, be prepared later. You may not be able to stop the disaster, but the aftermath will be far easier to deal with.
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In my 20 years of community association management, I have either attended organized, participated in, or spoken at over 2,000 Board meetings.