Ready, Set, Go! Today, Wednesday, June 1st, marks the 1st day of the Atlantic hurricane season. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a federal agency responsible for monitoring climate and the environment) believes this Atlantic hurricane season will have more activity than the past few years and may bring 1 to 4 major hurricanes. The hurricane season, starts today and ends November 30th 2016. This year we’re projected to have a “near normal” year, which may not sound like a big deal, but we’ve had unusually low activity the past few seasons. Our recent perception of a “normal” hurricane season is skewed.
So what does a “near normal” Atlantic hurricane season look like? The NOAA, this year predicts a whopping 70% likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, with many becoming major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.
Now mentally you may be brushing this information off, saying to yourself “eh, I’ll believe it when I see it,” and that’s understandable, given the fact that the last hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Hurricane Wilma on October 24, 2005, 11 years ago. But it’s always important to be prepared from both a safety, economical, and fiduciary duty standpoint. Here are four things you can do now to get your community association prepared:
(1) Review Your Documents and Take Lots and Lots of Prestorm Pictures: Make sure all of your insurance policies are up to date and reflect the proper amount of coverage. For example, if you have repaired or made improvements, you may want to increase your policy limits. You also want to make sure you have the right type of coverage so that you will be compensated for the full cost of replacing your association’s property and not the depreciated value. Make sure each member of the board and manager has copies of all of the insurance polices. You may also want to take date stamped photos of everything in the lobbies and common areas and store on a memory device in a safe place. Contact your manager or attorney for guidance.
(2) Make Your Grounds Safe: Look around your community property and see what could be a potential hazardin the event of a storm. Schedule a tree trimmer (licensed and bonded!) to discard any dead branches. Set up a roof inspection to ensure tiles are secure, caulking is updated, and other roof elements are maintained.
(3) Make a Plan: Have a plan for your community in the event of a storm which may include moving elevators to a higher floor so they don’t flood, informing residents that the building will close several days before the storm via email or social media, and distributing an evacuation plan.
(4) Get Supplies: Provide residents with a list of things they should have in their possession should a storm make landfall. We all know the essentials such as flashlights, batteries, food, and water but what many residents may not be thinking about is securing their Social Security Card, passport, credit cards, proof of residency, insurance policies, prescriptions, and photos of their unit.
Please do not underestimate the seriousness of Florida hurricane season. It’s important to be prepared, have a plan, and try and ensure each resident is doing the same. For more information on how you can be prepared, visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
As always, wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy week.
Yours in Community,
Alan Garfinkel, Esq.
Katzman Garfinkel, Founding Partner Community Advocacy Network (CAN), Chairman
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