Nobody wants to think about natural disasters affecting their condo building, but it’s something you need to address to make sure you have a plan in place if the worst should happen. The recent California fires show just how suddenly disaster can strike.
We take a look at how condo boards can make sure your condo is ready for a worst-case scenario.
Condos & Natural Disasters
Condo buildings have their own unique challenges in the event of natural disasters. Even small issues like power outages or burst pipes can affect hundreds of people. But in the event of a major natural disaster, like a hurricane or earthquake, condos can suffer serious damage and are serious hazards.
One of the big challenges is the sheer volume of people. Evacuating residents is no easy task. It’s important to run drills to ensure their safe and speedy escape. Plans should also be in place for where to go.
When it comes to natural disasters, it all comes down to planning. Some factors may be accounted for in construction. For example, some California buildings have “earthquake-proof” designs that minimize the damage of an earthquake. But having an emergency preparedness plan is still essential.
If something goes wrong, having a clear plan laid out minimizes risks, maintains order, and helps to keep people safe. Establish an emergency preparedness leader on your board and their support team. To create a good condo emergency preparedness plan, it’s important to consider the potential risks.
Know Your Risks
Depending on where your condo is located, you can plan for the most likely risks. For example, in Toronto, there’s a pretty low risk of a tsunami or earthquake causing major damage. But, from recent memory alone, we know that there are very real risks of flooding and ice storms. In fact, winter maintenance is a necessity to avoid damage like burst pipes.
Whatever the risks, understand how they might affect your building as well as your evacuation plan. For example, meeting locations may have to change for flooding if the destination is on lower ground.
As well, you’ll want to make sure the buildings insurance plan has you covered for all potential risks. In addition to insurance, consider repairs or maintenance work that you will likely need. Having contractors on standby can mean faster service and prevent higher charges. This is helpful even for smaller issues like clearing sudden snowfalls.
Have a Condo Emergency Fund
Is your condo reserve fund prepared for emergencies? A reserve fund sets aside money for future maintenance but is not always prepared to handle post-disaster repairs. In certain states or provinces like Ontario a condo reserve fund is mandatory, its always a good idea check if your condominium corporation has a reserve fund and see what’s covered.
Insurance may cover many of the major damages, but you don’t want to be stuck waiting for them to process the claim. If your fund is sufficient, you can get repairs immediately and put in the claim to your insurer.
Communication Tools for Emergencies
In the event of an emergency, you want to have the best communication tools in place. Communication is essential in an emergency. In a condo, there are a lot of people to get in contact with. You have separate lines with:
- Condo Residents
- Condo Staff
- The Emergency Preparedness Team
- Emergency Responders
With all of these different lines of communication, it’s important to have a reliable condo communication management system. An online platform and mobile use are essential in case there is power disruption or a lack of access to the building.
In addition to dealing with the disaster while and after it occurs, you can also help people prepare of an imminent or potential threat. Post warnings on electronic display boards and send out emails outlining risks, the emergency plan, and anything they may want to pack or prepare in advance.
Staying on top of Maintenance Requests
A backlog of maintenance requests isn’t just a source of condo complaints; it leaves your building vulnerable. In the event of a natural disaster, existing problems can easily worsen. Inconveniences can become dangers, and minor fixes can turn into costly repairs.
Proactive maintenance request software makes for safer condos with happier residents. Take advantage of software that tracks and updates maintenance requests to make sure that repairs happen in a timely and efficient manner.
As well as keeping up with requests, be sure to have regular maintenance plans for the summer and winter months to keep your building in top shape.
Be Prepared With A Property Emergency Software
A good property management software equips condo board members to handle all challenges. All the tools work together seamlessly and are built on an online platform for security and easy access. With a property management software, you can keep residents safe while running your property efficiently.