In West Michigan, area news reported recently that heavy rains in the area have caused a retention pond to overflow and flood several homes in an association community. Residents have been told that the homeowner association is responsible for remediation of the pond or better drainage to stop the flooding.
Property managers, association board members and homeowners hope this kind of disaster never happens to them, but nature is unpredictable. Start a conversation with your team and homeowner association to fill the gaps in your disaster plan. This checklist of questions and tips may help.
1. Do you have an updated list of local first responders, your insurance agent, plumbers, electricians, security specialists, IT technicians, emergency board-up and property restoration services? Who is the point person to contact these disaster partners? Who works with them during the restoration and claims process?
2. How do you communicate with homeowners in the first 24 hours? Have you considered an opt-in texting service for alerting homeowners quickly and providing updates? Have you provided an 800 number, or should you set up a call center service to manage multiple homeowner questions or concerns? How will you keep homeowners informed throughout the project phases? What types of communication are better in writing than verbally for legal purposes?
3. Who is the point person on the community grounds to direct first responders, develop a traffic flow plan with them and minimize traffic congestion or homeowner anxiety?
4. If security has been compromised in the community due to a power outage or other damage, what are your protocols for restoring building and community security during the first 24 hours? How will you distinguish homeowners from visitors? Go over this plan with your trusted security specialist, emergency board-up vendor and any personnel responsible for security.
5. If hazardous materials like asbestos are found in the community during damage assessments, do you have the right vendors to provide an abatement plan? Determine the danger level of the material, its location and how it will affect homeowners and the restoration timeline. Talk to your insurance agent about coverage for hazardous materials abatement.
6. Assess the type of damage to property. Is there a risk for mold? Is there a risk for corrosion from smoke damage? Has weather played a role in damage? How will the damage affect air quality? Talk to your restoration specialist about the immediate dangers in the first 24 hours as well as throughout the restoration phases. What can be salvaged? What needs demolition and why? This information will help you communicate with homeowners.
7. How will you maintain the reputation of your association and property management team? What services will be helpful to support homeowners during the emergency and beyond? How will you address communications on social media or requests for media interviews? Make sure that your team knows the point person to address media queries so that your messaging is consistent throughout the project.
View our Disaster Reconstruction page for more information.