With the 2015 hurricane season in full swing, the need for an updated hurricane preparedness plan is imminent.
Fortunately for Florida residents, a big name storm hasn’t breached the shores of our state’s coasts in nearly nine years, but homeowners associations, condominiums, and communities should still discuss how they will react in the event of a bad storm or hurricane. Envera Systems, specializing in Next Generation Security®, encourages proactive measures and has prepared in-depth solutions and procedures for its own hurricane preparedness plan. Some of these precautions should prove helpful to neighborhoods as well:
Expect the Unexpected.
Hurricanes and other hazardous weather patterns can sometimes occur with little warning. Creating your plan ahead of time will ensure you are ready when meteorologists predict a storm will affect your area.
Envera contracts with a third-party business continuity services provider. Protecting site facilities and equipment are instrumental in continuing or restoring operations. It is key for board members and property managers to have a plan in place for what will happen to protect common areas as well as individual homes or units before, during, and after inclement weather.
Always Have a Backup Plan.
Back up data regularly. In the event of power loss, Envera’s disaster recovery plan includes maintaining a cloud-based database that is stored in different locations. Ensure that any important documents, paperwork, USB drives, and external hard drives are in a light, compact, and weatherproof container that is easy to transport in the event of an evacuation. A few questions to discuss with your property manager and security provider might include:
- Does your community and security provider use backup power solutions and, if so, what are they and what do they control?
- How long can the security provider maintain monitoring at a location that has been hit directly?
- Who maintains monitoring of your neighborhood if your security provider’s system is down?
- Does the security provider have a contingency solution if their place of business experiences severe physical damage?
Be Flexible and Adaptable
Envera is able to operate remotely because of our cloud-based database, which also allows us to recover quickly. Often times, weather patterns can stray from predicted paths and severities. Members of the community must be ready to adapt to the effects of the storm since maintenance workers, property managers, and roaming guards may not be able to return to the community immediately following the hurricane.
Communication is key
Effective communication is needed to coordinate emergency activities, to implement the recovery plan, and to maintain contact with communities and employees.
Other preparedness tips more specific to your community might include:
Before the storm:
Have maintenance staff clear any common areas of debris and secure items such as pool equipment, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. Send out announcements letting the community know where they can access information such as popular numbers of contacts to call after the storm for help.
Know who will secure guardhouses, clubhouses, and any other buildings maintained by the community.
Part of a successful plan is knowing who in the community will be responsible to secure and confirm the preparation of the community’s general use assets. Many times the property management team will play this role, but it is the duty of the HOA’s board to confirm that all facilities and assets are properly secured.
Know when any on-site security guards will no longer occupy the premises and have a plan for when they will return.
Part of your planning should include a written timetable from your security provider as to how quickly will security staff return to their posts after a storm.
Back up all security databases and video footage prior to a storm hitting.
Having off-site backups of your community’s security assets is paramount. After the storm and during the rebuilding phase, it is important that your security provider be able to reinstitute all security systems as quickly as possible. With remote, off-site backups, this can begin immediately and without losing valuable configuration, monitoring, and archiving capabilities.
Communities protected by Envera can rest assure that if a disaster strikes, their security provider can recover quickly thanks to advanced planning and thorough testing. Regardless of who protects your community, take the time to ensure you and your neighbors are prepared for what this hurricane season may bring.