How To Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan with Your Community Association Management
As the leaders of your Tacoma, WA HOA, your board is responsible for resident safety in case of an emergency. This can include a natural disaster, an accident within the HOA, or a crime.
Whatever the cause, emergency preparedness is a crucial aspect of community association management. If you still need to develop a comprehensive safety plan for your community association, follow these four steps for maximum preparedness.
Create an emergency committee
One of the biggest keys to safety preparedness is having a dedicated plan and a clear leader assigned to execute that plan. In the chaos of an emergency, it should be clearly pre-established who is responsible for taking charge.
This is why we recommend creating an emergency committee. This committee should consist of several board members, depending on the size of your HOA, and the committee will be responsible for designing an effective emergency plan. To create an effective plan tailored to local needs, speak to your residents about their thoughts as well as local communities that have already developed emergency preparedness plans of their own.
Identify an emergency action team
Having an emergency committee to help conceptualize the plan is imperative, but you’ll also need to find out who can be most effective in helping residents in the moment.
Ask for volunteers who may have skills that will be useful in an emergency. Find out where any firefighters, police officers or EMTs live in your HOA and loop them into your emergency plan so they know how to be most effective when disaster strikes.
Determine a disaster budget
In the case of a natural disaster or other emergency, there will almost always be costs incurred as a result. From rebuilding exterior damage to helping support residents, you should be prepared with the answers to financial questions that inevitably arise following a disaster. If you’re not sure where to start, consult with your community association management firm.
Consider questions such as:
- What responsibilities does the HOA have in response to a disaster?
- What resources need to be obtained to prepare residents?
- Are there vendors in place to help rebuild after an emergency?
- How much of the budget should be reserved for disaster relief?
Communicate your disaster plan to association members
The effectiveness of an emergency preparedness plan relies almost entirely on your HOA residents being familiar with the plan and what to do in case of an emergency. To communicate your disaster plan to residents, work with your community association management firm to create an emergency guidebook for each household to reference.
In addition to the guidebook and initial communication efforts, we recommend creating an automated message detailing the plan that can be implemented on the HOA voicemail system quickly when disaster hits. When an emergency occurs, many homeowners will call the HOA’s main line to report an issue, find out what happened or learn what to do next. This automated message will help keep homeowners safe without requiring staff to answer the phones.
If you want a community management partner that always puts your residents’ safety and happiness at the forefront, look no further than The Management Trust. We’ve been an industry leader for over 30 years, with more than 1,500 communities served nationwide. To learn more about our full range of community management services for Tacoma, WA HOAs, including disaster preparedness assistance, call The Management Trust at (253) 472-0825 or fill out our online contact form today.