Nothing beats the tranquility of living in a beachfront condo and waking up every day to view the Atlantic Ocean.
Condos offer less maintenance than single-family homes and attract many new people to places like Florida every year. But that doesn’t mean condo owners have no maintenance responsibilities at all.
When someone lives in an area where hurricanes are common, there are some tasks they must take care of to ensure they thrive during the potential event while protecting their investment and the members of their households.
Hurricane preparedness needs to be part of a condo owner’s lifestyle – and much of the work they need to do happens long before a hurricane arrives.
Online Preparations For A Hurricane
Hurricane season lasts from June through November. There’s no guarantee that a hurricane will even land in any given year, leaving plenty of time for homeowners to prepare in advance. A hurricane will come eventually, and these are unpredictable events.
Condo owners should start their online preparations by taking photographs of their property and costly items like computers, televisions, electronics, and furniture. Then, they should store those photos in a cloud.
Doing so will make insurance claims easier if the owner’s property becomes damaged during a storm. Store a digital copy of the insurance policy in the same locations as the photos, and ensure confidential documents are in a safe place.
FEMA has a mobile app that provides helpful information during a natural disaster. The app should be installed on every household smartphone, along with an app from the condo owner’s power company if it has one.
It’s also a good idea to bookmark pages that provide updates on current weather conditions and the status of the electrical grid ahead of time, in case those pages are needed later.
Preparing A Hurricane Emergency Bag
An emergency bag is sometimes called a “bug-out bag” or a “go bag.” This duffel bag or backpack contains items people might need during a disaster. If a condo owner needs to evacuate, they should have everything they need already pre-packed in an emergency bag.
Possible items that should be packed in a hurricane emergency bag (or bags for multiple household members) include:
- A fully stocked first aid kit
- Bottled water
- A method for purifying drinking water
- Some non-perishable food
- Prescription medicines
- Emergency blankets
- Emergency radio for updates
- Paper maps in case cell phone service go out
Store the hurricane “go bag” in the closet nearest the condo’s front door or a vehicle’s trunk. With this step completed ahead of time, condo owners can be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. If condo owner has pets, they should also remember to pack items for them.
Preparing Inside A Condo Unit
The owner’s covenant or contract with the condo association may have a list of responsibilities in the event of a hurricane.
Locals have likely been dealing with hurricanes and preparedness for years, so any advice they provide in the covenant comes from experience. Generally, here are some things condo owners should take care of in their units:
- Most modern condo buildings have hurricane-resistant windows or shutters. Remember that “hurricane-resistant” does not mean the same as “100% hurricane-proof.” These windows can still break and allow dozens of gallons of water into a condo unit. Owners should prepare for this scenario.
- Items on shelves can become home safety hazards if hurricane-force winds do end up breaking a window. Take items off of shelves and store them in plastic storage bins. Plastic bins are better than cardboard boxes if water damage occurs inside the unit.
- Make sure that cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices are fully charged before a hurricane. A portable power source for recharging these items if the power goes out is also a must-have.
Preparing Outside A Condo Unit
If the unit has a private balcony or patio, the owner should bring all furniture, plants, or other outdoor items inside the unit.
Any areas outside of the owner’s condo unit are communal spaces. It’s the condo association’s responsibility and building employees’ responsibility to prepare those areas for a hurricane.
Preparing for a hurricane is essentially the responsibility of each condo owner. Getting to know the neighbors in a condo building is extremely important because, in the event of a hurricane, they may be the only people close by who can help once a hurricane makes landfall.
Prepare Your Condo For A Hurricane Today
Remember, most of one’s neighbors in a condo building where hurricanes occur may have experienced one before and can be a valuable source of information in a pinch. Anything that can be taken care of before a tropical storm forms and then turns into a hurricane will be time well spent.