Disaster Management Planning: 7 Tips for Your HOA

When catastrophe strikes, emergency protocols can ensure the safety of your HOA community. Given the many variables to consider when creating disaster relief policies, however, determining the most effective ways to protect your residents can be tricky.

With that in mind, here are 7 HOA disaster management planning tips:

1. Evaluate possible area-specific disasters

Determine if your community is in an area susceptible to natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, then develop implementable emergency protocols around them. It’s also a good idea to design measures for potential risks such as terrorism and disease outbreaks.

2. Consider your community’s demographics

Design evacuation protocols that provide everyone in your community realistic ways to reach safety. This includes those with mobility issues like the elderly, and people with disabilities. Families with small children should also be taken into account when developing such procedures.

It’s also important to consider your community members’ cultural backgrounds. A diverse HOA community is one where many languages are spoken, and where English may not be understood. Therefore, emergency guidelines should be available in other languages in addition to English.

3. Make your emergency policies accessible

All disaster relief procedures should be easy to understand so all community members will have no issues carrying them out when necessary. All guidelines should also be published on your HOA’s website to allow residents to ask questions about rules they’re unclear about.

4. Conform to wildfire protocols

Certain areas in the US have rigid wildfire protocols, which your HOA must adhere to, to minimize occurrence and damage of such a calamity. You must also be proactive in wildfire prevention, which means following such rules as regularly trimming landscape, avoiding the use of specific construction materials, and more.

5. Coordinate with the Emergency Management Office

An area’s Emergency Management Office can provide assistance to calamity-affected communities, so make sure to collaborate with such an agency when planning disaster management.

6. Integrate an emergency alert system into your plan

An electronic emergency alert system sends emails and text messages to residents to notify them about specific developments associated with potential catastrophes. This allows them to make the necessary preparations for such situations. Make sure records of your community members’ contact information are regularly updated.

7. Provide disaster relief training

Host meetings designed to educate community members about your emergency protocols, especially before the onset of potentially hazardous seasons. This will ensure people are reminded of the actions they should take to keep themselves safe in the event of a disaster.

Another way to educate residents about your disaster plan is to include information about it in your HOA newsletter. An article about a potential disaster and what can be done to keep safe in such an event, for example, can be extremely helpful.