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Tips for Creating an Emergency Communication Plan for Your HOA

Communicating effectively during emergencies is a must. Here are tips on creating an emergency communication plan for your association.
Camille Moore | Apr 10, 2024 | 3 min read
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Emergencies often hit at a moment's notice and bring chaos with them. Getting information out as fast as possible to as many residents as possible is vital, which can be a challenge, especially if you don't already have a plan in place.

With everything going on in an emergency, it is easy to forget even the most basic information, so having an emergency communication plan for your association is prudent.

Keep reading for tips on creating an emergency communication plan for your association. 

Create a Contact Database

The first step any association should take when creating an emergency communication plan is compiling a database with relevant resident information.

This includes addresses, phone numbers, preferred language, residents and pets in the house, alternate addresses, and emergency contacts.

An online database that all residents can access is the best option so residents can edit their information as needed.

Even if you have a database accessible online, it is prudent to print out a physical copy with updated information every quarter in case the emergency prevents internet access. 

Create a Chain of Command

In a perfect world, your association will have access to a text system that can send out an informational text message to every resident, but that is not always an option.

If this is not the case, it is imperative to set up a chain of command, so everyone knows their responsibility in an emergency, including whose responsibility it is to contact residents and other officials.

Those responsible for communications should report whom they have contacted and which residents may still need to be contacted. 

Have Backup Communication

Texting and calling are the best way to relay information quickly, but those are not always an option in an emergency. It is best to have as many alternative means of communication as possible to keep your residents safe.

A few ideas include posting information to a community social media page, emailing, and using a radio or walkie-talkie if the situation calls for it.

The hope is never to move past a text or phone call, but having as many backup plans as possible could save lives. 

Hold Drills

It's easy to say that you know what to do in an emergency, but putting your plan into action can have different results.

Just like schools have fire drills, it is a good idea to have emergency drills once or twice a year to ensure everyone knows their job and how to do it.

This also allows you to spot any weaknesses in your association's emergency communication plan so you can fix or change them as needed. Your residents must know that it is a drill so you don't stir a panic. 

Educate the Community

There is only so much you can do as an association to ensure the safety of your community; they must have an equal part in emergency preparedness.

The best way to do this is by giving your community the tools to educate themselves and the resources to find more information about emergency preparedness.

Educate them on the steps they should take in an emergency and how to contact the board for support before, during, and after the emergency. 

More to Consider

How to get the message out is only one part of the equation. Emergencies are times of high emotion, so emergency messages should be crafted carefully to not add any more stress to the situation.

It is always a good idea to have multiple pairs of eyes read over a message before it is sent to ensure that it is clear and that all aspects of the message are accurate.

Hopefully, you will never encounter a situation where the emergency action plan for your association needs to be implemented, but if you do, you'll be better prepared to implement the plan as successfully as possible. 

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