Here are the first steps community associations should take now that Hurricane Irma has cleared out.
• Review and update insurance policies.
All insurance policies should be reviewed and updated as necessary, at least annually. Review dates should be calendared well in advance and incorporated into other annual must-do tasks.
• Maintain landscaping and ensure potential projectiles are secured.
Trees and shrubbery grow extensively in Florida's wet, summer months, causing potential problems in strong winds. Trees can block roads and down powerlines when they fall. Items like ladders, paint cans, supplies, outdoor furniture, etc., which may normally be stored outside have the potential to become airborne projectiles posing threats to people and property and must be secured responsibly once a hurricane watch is issued. Landscaping and exteriors should be inspected regularly to minimize these potential threats.
• Establish lines of communication with local governmental authorities.
Determine well in advance who at your city hall is responsible for hurricane response and obtain contact information, including phone numbers and emails. Make sure that the association is included on notification lists (emails, texts, or voicemail) and that residents have access to transportation in the event an evacuation is ordered.
• Adopt an action plan for association hurricane response.
Divide responsibilities among officers/directors and management for operations under emergency hurricane conditions. If evacuation is a possibility, have a reliable means of communication to relay messages to residents, such as evacuation orders and transportation options. If association staff will be asked to work during the storm make adequate accommodation arrangements. This will ensure that they are on-site when needed, as well as avoiding travel that will be impossible during a storm.
• Ensure equipment in good working order.
Many communities have a back-up generator, water pump, and elevator systems. These systems, like all others, require regular maintenance to ensure that they are in good working order when needed and especially in emergencies. If your equipment has not been inspected recently, now is an opportune time.