From the Field

Natural Disasters Underscore Need for HOA Disaster Plan

These days, when tornado sirens blare, condo owners in Judy Rosen’s 70-unit St. Louis high-rise go straight to the building’s underground, windowless garage and huddle in the center.

They won’t soon forget the late April “Good Friday” tornado that carved a 22-mile track of destruction through their city, damaging 200 homes and leaving thousands of people without power.  Although the community wasn’t damaged, residents were assured by the Crescent Condominiums’ disaster preparedness plan.

“I would be just panicked if something happened to the people who live in my community,” said Judy Rosen CMCA, AMS, PCAM, community manager with more than 30 years’ experience.  “But because I took the time to sit down and write an emergency preparedness plan, I know I had done my job. That prepares me, and that prepares my community, for whatever can happen.”

With more than 60 million Americans living homes governed by community associations, emergency planning has become an essential skill of HOA managers. Community managers play a key role in any emergency response effort. HOA managers must understand what types of disasters are likely to occur in their community, develop emergency response protocols, practice them and then communicate them.

Disasters range from summer wildfires to hurricanes, tornadoes to blizzards. Their impact on communities varies, depending on their size and location, the age of the housing stock and a community’s degree of preparedness.

According to the American Red Cross, writing a disaster preparedness plan has six steps:

  1. Committing to preparedness for the community or property. This means getting the HOA board and other top leadership committed to disaster planning.
  2. Conducting a hazard vulnerability assessment. George Sullivan, an expert in disaster preparedness for the American Red Cross says, “A lot of people write an emergency response plan based on something that happened to someone else.”
  3. Developing an emergency response plan. “If you already have one, now is the time to revisit it and ask all the big ‘what ifs,’ such as ‘what if we’re no longer able to operate in this location?” Sullivan says.
  4. Testing your plan.  An untested plan is not a real plan – so go ahead and plan those drills.
  5. Communicating about preparedness. Managers must make preparedness top of mind in their communities, through      newsletters and bill inserts.
  6. Helping others.  By definition, a commitment to disaster preparedness is a commitment to helping others – so some communities consider adopting a local school or church or hosting a blood drive.

“CMCAs learn these are things they have to be aware of,” said Rosen, who teaches classes on emergency preparedness. “They know they are responsible for the people in their community, and they have to have a written plan.”

Do you have a plan in place?  Tell us about it.

This entry was posted in core competencies of community association management and tagged , , , by CMCA ~ The Essential Credential. Bookmark the permalink.

About CMCA ~ The Essential Credential

CAMICB is a more than 25 year old independent professional certification body responsible for developing and delivering the Certified Manager of Community Associations® (CMCA) examination. CAMICB awards and maintains the CMCA credential, recognized worldwide as a benchmark of professionalism in the field of common interest community management. The CMCA examination tests the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform effectively as a professional community association manager. CMCA credential holders attest to full compliance with the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, committing to ethical and informed execution of the duties of a professional manager. The CMCA credentialing program carries dual accreditation. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the CMCA program for meeting its U.S.-based standards for credentialing bodies. The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredits the CMCA program for meeting the stringent requirements of the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard, the international standards for certification bodies. The program's dual accreditation represents compliance with rigorous standards for developing, delivering, and maintaining a professional credentialing program. It underscores the strength and integrity of the CMCA credential. Privacy Policy:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s