As Hurricane Sandy begins to batter the East Coast, property managers can make some last minute steps to prepare both residents and property.
Article / checklist below courtesy of the New Jersey Apartment Association and RestoreCore.com.
With the mid-Atlantic bracing for a “one hundred year storm,” property managers can take last minute proactive steps to help mitigate risk. In the best-case scenario, property managers should have taken preparedness measures way before a disaster strikes; however, when such plans do not exist, a little near-term planning can go a long way toward being ready for the storm.
Below is a short checklist that will help assist property managers make last minute preparations:
Identify storm trajectory and properties in or near:
a. The path of storm
b. In a flood zone
c. In an area prone to flooding
d. In heavily wooded areas
Contact local emergency authorities and determine if evacuation is needed:
a. Locate local shelters or hotels
b. Determine evacuation routes and road closures
c. This information is available at http://www.state.nj.us/njoem, property managers can
Determine internal resources with staff, maintenance personal, equipment:
a. Are back-up generators functional?
b. Inventory vehicle fleet and ensure that vehicles are filled with gas or charged fully. Move vehicles to safe area, outside of the flood plain.
Communicate with residents and inform them of local authorities warnings or weather threats:
a. Send Email or Text alerts
b. Post on Community website and social media outlets “Alert” communication
If evacuating property:
a. Notify EMS or the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) of your evacuation.
b. Determine if you need to/can shut off gas or electric. It is recommended to shut these off if possible if imminent flooding is going to occur.
c. Place signage on clubhouse/office door with contact names and numbers.
d. If an evacuation is ordered, place flyers of the evacuation route and other pertinent information outside your office/clubhouse door for residents and head to safety.
e. Record new message with answering service
i. IMPORTANT – if you do this, you must update this message regularly – otherwise you could create more confusion.
ii. You must state the time and date in the message, so people can determine the timeliness of this information.
a. Contact your insurance agent or carrier immediately to report the claim, determine coverage and deductibles
b. If your building has sustained water damage, start the mitigation process immediately
c. Not properly drying your property can increase the likelihood of mold amplification, additional damage and pose a coverage risk
d. Do not pump out basements too fast; doing so has the potential to destabilize your foundation. As a rule of thumb, wait for the water to recede naturally until there is less than 3 feet or water remaining.
e. During widespread disasters, it could take days or weeks before an insurance adjuster will visit your property. FEMA encourages property owners to immediately embark on emergency repairs – if you have a question as to what action to take, you should contact your insurance agent or broker for guidance.
f. You should keep all receipts and track staff hours to include with your insurance claim
Document the action that you take during this period. Have managers or subordinates witness planning and communication.
For further information see your local states office of emergency management website NJ: http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/ You will find information and links to other websites regarding evacuation routes, temporary shelters, road conditions and closures, whether alerts and other up-to-date information.
Thank you to RestoreCore and NJAA for providing this information.