Disaster can strike at any time. Whether they are human-made or natural, disasters destroy communities, particularly those that have not made an effort to prepare beforehand. When it comes to community emergency preparedness, it is better to be proactive than reactive. That means a community emergency preparedness plan should be developed before a disaster rips through your neighborhood.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, 40 percent of households do not have an emergency preparedness plan, and 80 percent have not conducted test home evacuation drills. While these individuals have a responsibility to prepare their families for emergency scenarios, community associations should take efforts to establish guidelines for how disasters are handled.
Establishing A Community Emergency Preparedness Plan
One of the most important steps a community association should take is encouraging residents to create emergency preparedness kits and plans for their households. You can also ask people to volunteer with a community emergency response team program, so they learn how to respond in the event of a disaster and assist in their immediate area.
As a community association, emergency preparedness should be approached as a group endeavor so no task is overlooked by a single person who can be overwhelmed by the project. Each group member should be given specific assignments with concrete deadlines. A project manager should send reminders and stay on top of the community association to ensure everything is being handled as assigned.
Community Emergency Preparedness Checklist
The following checklist outlines all of the tasks a community association needs in order to establish an emergency preparedness plan. Work as a team to accomplish these goals together, so your community knows how to respond in the event of a catastrophe.
- Establish an off-site office for your community association so you can get up and running as soon as possible following an emergency.
- Annually, arrange details with vendors to establish a plan for coming in after the “all clear” is given.
- Assign an area for post-emergency debris.
- Keep copies of valuable documents in a protective, mobile case so these papers can be quickly removed from the site in case the worst happens.
- Acquire battery-powered walkie-talkies in the event that cell phone service is not operational.
- Create a script for the association’s voicemail with details about how residents should respond in the event of an emergency. With a script ready to go, you simply have to record the message when a disaster hits rather than trying to figure out exactly what to say in the moment of a crisis.
- Develop relationships with your local emergency responders. Stay in contact with them for any updates to crucial information that could make things easier in the event of an emergency.
- If you have prior knowledge of an incoming disaster, such as a hurricane, inform the community of the association’s plans before, during, and after the event. Provide them with the information they might need for resources and assistance. Use all communication methods available including updates on the association’s website, email blasts, text message updates, and phone trees.
- Discuss with community employees what their responsibilities are in the event of an emergency and what they should do if an evacuation is necessary.
- Work with local animal shelters, so community residents have a place to keep their pets if their homes are inaccessible.
- Share a priority repair and reinstatement list with residents so they know what will be back in working order first.
- Set up a sealed utility closet with emergency essentials such as basic tools, first aid kits, extension cords, ladders, ropes, cleaning supplies, flashlights, and a battery-operated radio.
The Community Associations Institute found that $1.7 billion is spent each year on the aftermath of emergencies. A community association emergency preparedness plan minimizes these burdensome costs while also improving the chances that your residents sustain limited injuries and loss of property.
Slatter Management prioritizes emergency preparedness for all of its communities. Our experts understand the process for creating community association emergency preparedness plans. Contact us today to discuss if our services are right for your community.