Emergency Prepardness 101 On the Front Lines of Dealing with Disasters

 While the basics of preventing—and surviving—relatively common disasters like fires or severe weather events should be well  known to anybody living in a community association or planned development, the  reality is that each building community is equipped with different equipment,  constructed with different materials, and served by unique evacuation routes  for emergencies. There's no one-size-fits-all plan that works for every  building or association—so it’s important for board members and management to devise customized emergency  plans for their particular community. That way if the unthinkable happens,  everyone can escape quickly and safely.  

 Have a Plan

 Jim Stoller, the president of The Building Group, a management company in  Chicago, believes that preparation is key. “I'm a former Boy Scout, and our motto was 'be prepared,'” he says. “An association must have a plan in place. It doesn’t matter what the emergency is—blizzard, fire, electrical outage, blackout, plumbing, you have to have a plan  in place for everything.”  

 “The three main areas to focus on are the 3 R’s: response, recovery and restoration,” says Gina Rossi, the manager of marketing and sales for nationwide HOA  management firm Associa, which has offices in Chicago, Schaumburg and  Plainfield.  

 “The management company and the board of directors should work together to  prepare a flexible disaster management plan for their community. The best  prevention is to know your environment, the risks of the area, and then prepare  for the worst. Associations that are prepared can reduce the inconvenience,  losses and fears that encompass disasters.”  

 “Employees should be trained to be responsive in emergency situations,” says Rossi. “Frequent drills for fire, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, wild fires and  bomb threats will help instill the process.”  

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