Emergency response planning can be a stressful process for condo association board members, but just getting started is often the most difficult part. Hopefully, your HOA already has some form of an ERP in place that you can use to revise and update, but if it doesn’t, you can use this template below to get started.
Key Areas to Include in Your HOA’s ERP
An emergency response plan serves several important purposes. Not only does it alert residents about what to do in a disaster, but it also serves as a centralized location for storing important HOA documents that will be needed in an emergency. Make sure your ERP takes into account these areas.
- Master site plan: Include a site plan of the entire HOA property and make sure everything is labeled accurately with items like lift stations, generators and shut-off valves. Emergency response officials may need access to these documents, and it’s helpful for all unit owners to review as well.
- Evacuation plan: Develop clear evacuation routes and designated meeting points for HOA residents. Provide guidelines for assisting those with special needs during evacuations and establish procedures for accounting for all residents after an evacuation. There should be a clear chain of command when an ERP needs to be enacted. Generally, that’s the board president.
- Contact information: Keep your phone tree and emergency contacts list updated. Contact information for all board members, the association management company, emergency services, insurance, vendors and all residents should be included on the list.
- Property inventory and insurance documents: Another best practice is to maintain a property inventory of the HOA’s common elements. Create a spreadsheet to note shared property and approximate value. Take photos/videos to supplement the inventory. Be sure to safely store insurance policies.
- Recovery plan: Disasters can result in damage and debris. Establish policies and procedures for when it is safe for residents to return to their units. Also, develop guidelines for accessing emergency funds and resources for repairs and recovery. Ensure the board has the authority to approve necessary expenditures without delays during emergencies.
By including these essential elements in your HOA emergency response plan, you can create a safer community and provide clear directions during a disaster. To learn more about emergency planning for your Chicago condo association, contact us at First Community Management.