Property Management Tips: How to Prepare for a Hurricane


Hurricane Isaac’s stormy path along the Gulf Coast this week serves as a sober reminder that this is hurricane season and that preparedness should be at the top of the list for multifamily property owners and managers everywhere.

And hurricanes don’t just affect seaside cities; they can push hundreds of miles inland and inflict damaging winds and flooding.

Communities well north and west of New Orleans are already feeling the impact of Isaac, which doused the Crescent City with 75 mph winds that accompanied a wall of water nearly 11 feet high at the mouth of the Mississippi River seven years to the day of the deadly arrival of Hurricane Katrina. Forecasters warned of flooding from the storm capable of dumping 20 inches of rain on the already soaked region.

The American Red Cross is already on the job. Almost 2,400 American Red Cross disaster workers are in the region, opening evacuation shelters and providing relief supplies for those affected by Isaac in several states along the Gulf.

There’s an App for That

In August, the American Red Cross took hurricane preparedness to a new level by introducing an app to put information right in the hands of people who live in or visit hurricane prone areas.

The free app, the second in a series rolled out this year by the American Red Cross, works with both iPhone and Android platforms. It gives instant access to local and real-time information on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

The app contains a plethora of information for everything from locating shelters to turning phones into a tool kit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm. Among the features is one-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to reach out to family and friends via social media outlets.

Good timing for not only hurricane season but National Preparedness Month in September.

The techno-gadget is just one of many sources of good information on how to weather tropical storms and those more severe. The three tried-and-true keys to disaster preparedness are to build a kit, make a plan and be informed, says the American Red Cross.

They also offers some tips specifically to prepare for hurricanes:

Know the Difference between Watch and Warning

Understand the difference between a hurricane watch and warning and plan accordingly. For watches, hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review hurricane plans and be prepared to act while staying informed.

For warnings, hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.

Locate Nearest Shelters

Properties and communities that are in a hurricane’s path should stay informed and follow evacuation instructions by local authorities. If asked to shelter in place, employees and residents should remain in their home until conditions improve. If possible, keep cell phones charged and have extra batteries available for flashlights.

Prepare a Kit

Create an emergency preparedness kit for on-site staff. Kits should be stored in easy-to-carry containers that can be used anywhere in case of evacuation. They should include:

  • Three-day supply of water (one gallon, per person, per day)
  • Non-perishable food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Seven-day supply of medications
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of important personal documents

The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks of supplies at home.

Create a Communications Plan

Work together on an emergency communication plan. Each person should know how to reach others. The plan should also include an out-of-area emergency contact person, possibly at the corporate office, and where everyone should meet.

Don’t Forget Fido & Fluffy

When making a disaster preparedness plan, don’t forget your furry and winged family members. Pets are a growing segment of the multifamily population and need to have a kit and a plan too, in case of emergency.

Hurricane preparedness is as simple as having a good plan and plenty of supplies. Is your property prepared for a hurricane? What about your residents?

Other disaster-preparedness articles on Property Management Insider:



Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

One response to “Property Management Tips: How to Prepare for a Hurricane”

  1. Our prayers go out to those who were affected.

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