4 Winter Weather Preparation Tips For Your Community
Maintaining a safe and secure environment should always be a top concern as a member of your homeowners' association (HOA) board of directors. Winter weather conditions can present many hazards to residents. In addition, having a winter weather plan in place will help you save lives, build trust, and minimize costly property damage. We'll show you the five steps to developing an emergency plan to protect your community during a winter weather emergency.
Understand How Weather Emergencies Can Affect Your Community
The significance of comprehending how weather emergencies influence your community cannot be overstated. First, it's essential that you know who your vulnerable members are. Do they have special needs? Are they unable to evacuate independently, like people with disabilities or young children? How many pets do you have in your neighborhood? Knowing who might be particularly in need is a great starting point; from there, it's essential to understand how weather emergencies may impact those individuals. Hurricanes, winter storms, floods, and other types of disasters can present unique challenges for everyone in affected areas—mainly if utilities go out and health care isn't readily available. Plan: It's also crucial that you plan as much as possible.
Create a Winter Weather Emergency Committee
Because your HOA is responsible for maintaining common grounds, you don't want to be caught off guard by winter weather emergencies. Create a plan that covers how frequently your emergency committee will meet, how you will communicate with them in an emergency, and your reaction methods, in addition to selecting members. This way, you'll know ahead of time if problems arise and be prepared to take action without hesitation. Ensure all your members have contact information to get in touch with them when needed. The more people involved and aware of your emergency plan, the better.
Plan How to Alert Residents in an Emergency
While it's essential to know how to respond during a winter weather emergency, it's equally important (and less fun) to make sure your community knows how to react in a crisis. And no, creating a Facebook page with a post about having your snowblower on standby doesn't count as an official plan.
It will take time and effort on your part, but here are some tips that can help you get started:
- Select your winter weather committee members by asking them directly—you may have more volunteers than you think.
- Give potential committee members time and space to research what they might need to stay informed and prepared.
- Make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities.
- Figure out how you'll keep members informed and involved, especially if you have a large community—consider creating an internal forum or meeting regularly in person.
- Make sure that any designated team leaders on your committee share their plan with your board of directors so that everyone knows who is responsible for what.
- Share information about your winter weather plans with community association meetings and social media channels (people want to know their communities are prepared).
- Figure out how residents can access relevant resources before an emergency strikes (like fire extinguishers) and include these things in a master list of emergency information that residents can access online.
Collaborate with Local Agencies
As a member of your homeowners' association (HOA) board of directors, fostering a safe and secure environment should always be prioritized. A plan will help you save lives, earn trust, and avoid property damage. Start by enlisting local agencies that may assist in an emergency. Local law enforcement or fire department? Emergency management office? Power company? Having these critical contacts at hand makes it easier to work with them when an event occurs.