blog post

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist for Property Managers

Josh Parry
Josh Parry
May 18, 2023
Hurricane Preparedness Checklist for Property Managers

As a vacation rental property manager, it’s important to be prepared for natural disasters such as hurricanes, especially during hurricane season. It’s not just about protecting your property but also your guests, staff, and yourself.

Therefore, having a comprehensive hurricane preparedness checklist is crucial. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the steps to create a hurricane preparedness checklist that property managers can use to protect their vacation rental properties.

Explanation of hurricane season and its impact on vacation rental properties

Hurricane season is a period each year when tropical storms and hurricanes are more likely to occur in certain regions of the world.

In the United States, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, with the peak season typically occurring between mid-August and late October. During this time, vacation rental property managers need to be extra vigilant to safeguard their properties from the potential damage caused by hurricanes.

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Free Hurricane Preparedness Checklist For Property Managers

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The impact of hurricanes on vacation rental properties can be significant.

High winds, storm surges, and heavy rainfall can all cause damage to buildings, landscaping, and other features of the property.

Additionally, hurricanes can lead to power outages and interruptions in communication, which can affect the safety and well-being of guests and staff.

To mitigate the impact of hurricanes, property managers should create a comprehensive hurricane preparedness checklist that includes risk assessment, communication plans, and property preparation. By taking these steps, property managers can minimize the damage to their property during hurricane season.

Importance of being prepared and having a hurricane preparedness checklist

The importance of being prepared for hurricanes cannot be overstated for vacation rental property managers. Having a comprehensive hurricane preparedness checklist in place is like a handbook to the top property managers.

Firstly, having a hurricane preparedness checklist allows property managers to assess the risks associated with hurricanes and take steps to mitigate those risks. This includes ensuring that the property is properly secured and that all necessary supplies and equipment are on hand.

Secondly, having a hurricane preparedness checklist helps property managers communicate effectively with guests and staff during a hurricane. By providing timely updates and guidance, property managers can not only protect the property but also give it an opportunity to be a superhero for the guests.

Finally, having a hurricane preparedness checklist helps property managers to minimize the damage caused by hurricanes. By taking proactive steps to protect the property, such as securing loose objects and boarding up windows, property managers can minimize the damage caused by high winds, storm surges, and heavy rainfall.

Steps to Create a Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Having specific steps to create a hurricane preparedness checklist is vital for vacation rental managers. It helps them to systematically identify potential risks and hazards associated with hurricanes, develop a communication plan, and prepare their property to minimize damage.

Without a clear set of steps, property managers may overlook critical aspects of hurricane preparedness, which could result in unsafe conditions for guests and staff, as well as significant property damage. A comprehensive checklist that is tailored to the specific needs of the vacation rental property can help property managers stay organized, focused, and prepared in the face of an impending hurricane.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Conducting a thorough risk assessment is an essential step for vacation rental managers before creating a hurricane preparedness checklist. A risk assessment helps to identify potential risks and hazards associated with hurricanes that are unique to the location and features of the property. This includes the potential impact of high winds, storm surges, and heavy rainfall, as well as the property's proximity to flood-prone areas or coastal erosion.

Here are some examples of risk assessment statements for hurricane preparedness that vacation rental property managers can consider:

  1. "In the event of a hurricane, our vacation rental property management team will closely monitor weather forecasts and communicate with guests to provide timely updates on any potential risks or evacuation orders."
  1. "We have a detailed hurricane preparedness plan in place, which includes securing outdoor furniture and equipment, boarding up windows if necessary, and ensuring that our guests are aware of emergency procedures and evacuation routes."
  1. "Prior to hurricane season, we conduct regular inspections to identify any potential hazards that may pose a risk during a storm. We address these issues promptly to minimize damage and ensure the safety of our guests."
  1. "Our vacation rental properties are equipped with emergency supplies, such as flashlights, first aid kits, and non-perishable food items, to assist guests in case of a hurricane or extended power outage."
  1. "Guests staying at our vacation rental properties receive a comprehensive hurricane preparedness guide upon check-in. This guide includes essential information about storm procedures, evacuation routes, and emergency contacts."

By conducting a thorough risk assessment, property managers can develop a targeted and effective hurricane preparedness checklist that addresses the specific risks and hazards associated with their property. This helps to minimize property damage and ensures the safety of guests and staff during a hurricane. Ultimately, conducting a risk assessment is an essential component of any comprehensive hurricane preparedness plan for vacation rental properties.

Develop a Communication Plan

Develop a communication plan that outlines how you will communicate with guests, staff, and emergency services during a hurricane. This plan should include contact details, evacuation procedures, and a protocol for communicating with guests before, during, and after the storm. A communication plan ensures that property managers can effectively communicate with guests and staff during a hurricane, providing them with timely updates and guidance to ensure their safety.

A communication plan should include procedures for notifying guests of a hurricane warning or evacuation order, providing information about shelter locations, and updating guests on the status of the storm. It should also include procedures for communicating with staff, such as identifying an emergency contact person and establishing a protocol for staff to follow in the event of a hurricane.

Here are some examples of items that can make up a communication plan specifically for hurricane preparedness for vacation rental property managers:

  1. Stakeholder Identification: Identify the key stakeholders involved in the hurricane preparedness plan. This may include vacation rental property owners, guests, staff members, local authorities, emergency management agencies, utility providers, and relevant contractors or service providers.
  1. Communication Objectives: Define the specific objectives of your communication plan for hurricane preparedness. These objectives may include providing timely and accurate information, ensuring the safety and well-being of guests, coordinating with local authorities, and minimizing potential disruptions to operations.
  1. Communication Channels: Determine the various communication channels you will use to reach your stakeholders. This can include email, phone calls, text messages, social media platforms, your vacation rental website, and any other relevant platforms or tools. Consider using multiple channels to ensure the widest reach possible.
  1. Contact Information: Compile a comprehensive list of contact information for all stakeholders. This should include emergency contact numbers for local authorities, utility providers, and contractors, as well as contact details for vacation rental property owners, guests, and staff members. Ensure this list is regularly updated.
  1. Emergency Procedures: Develop clear and concise emergency procedures that outline the steps to be taken by both staff members and guests in the event of a hurricane. Include evacuation routes, shelter locations, emergency assembly points, and any other relevant instructions. Distribute these procedures to all stakeholders and ensure they are easily accessible.
  1. Timelines and Triggers: Establish timelines for communication during different phases of hurricane preparedness, such as monitoring, warnings, and evacuation orders. Determine the triggers that will initiate specific communications, such as reaching a certain threshold of hurricane intensity or receiving official notifications.
  1. Pre-scripted Messages: Prepare pre-scripted messages that can be quickly disseminated to stakeholders based on specific scenarios. These messages should be informative, reassuring, and include relevant instructions or updates. Examples include hurricane warnings, evacuation notices, and post-hurricane recovery information.
  1. Staff Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of staff members in the communication plan. Assign specific individuals or teams to handle different aspects of communication, such as monitoring weather updates, coordinating with authorities, and responding to inquiries from guests.
  1. Testing and Training: Regularly test and evaluate your communication plan through drills and simulations. This will help identify any gaps or areas for improvement. Additionally, provide training for staff members on their roles in the communication plan and ensure they are familiar with the tools and channels being used.
  1. Review and Update: Review and update your communication plan regularly to incorporate any lessons learned from past experiences or changes in technology, stakeholders, or regulations. Ensure that the plan remains relevant, effective, and aligned with best practices in hurricane preparedness.

Remember, each communication plan should be tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the vacation rental property and its location. These items serve as a starting point to develop a comprehensive and effective communication plan for hurricane preparedness.

 Effective communication during a hurricane can help to ensure the safety of guests and staff and minimize property damage. Property managers should also consider using multiple communication channels, such as text messages, social media, and email, to ensure that they reach as many guests and staff as possible. Developing a comprehensive communication plan is an essential component of any hurricane preparedness checklist for vacation rental properties.

Prepare Your Property

Preparing the property before the arrival of a hurricane is an important step for vacation rental property managers.  This includes inspecting the property's structural integrity, identifying, and securing any loose objects, and boarding up windows and doors.

Property managers should also ensure that all necessary equipment and supplies, such as emergency generators, flashlights, and batteries, are available and in good working condition. By preparing the property in advance, and early in the season, property managers can help minimize the impact of a hurricane, protecting the property and ensuring the safety of guests and staff.

A thorough property preparation checklist should be developed and included as part of the overall hurricane preparedness plan.

1. Secure Loose Items

Loose items such as outdoor furniture, signage, and decorations can become dangerous projectiles during a hurricane. Secure all loose items and store them in a safe place before the storm arrives.

2. Protect Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are vulnerable points during a hurricane. Protecting windows and doors is an important aspect of hurricane preparedness for vacation rental properties. This includes installing storm shutters, boarding up windows and doors, and reinforcing garage doors to prevent wind damage. Properly protecting windows and doors can help minimize damage to the property and ensure the safety of guests and staff during a hurricane.

3. Check and Clear Gutters and Drains

Ensure that gutters and drains are clear of debris to prevent water from pooling around your property.

4. Prepare for Flooding

Preparing your property for flooding is one of the most important things to do while preparing for a Hurricane. This includes identifying flood-prone areas, ensuring that drainage systems are clear of debris, and having sandbags or other flood protection measures readily available. Preparing for potential flooding can help to minimize property damage and ensure the safety of guests and staff during a hurricane.

5. Review Insurance Policies

Reviewing insurance policies is a crucial step in hurricane preparedness for vacation rental properties. Property managers should review their policies to ensure that they have adequate coverage for potential hurricane-related damage, including wind and flood damage. This can help to minimize the financial impact of a hurricane on the property and ensure that repairs can be made quickly to minimize downtime.

Pre-Hurricane Season Preparation

Regular Inspections and Maintenance

Property managers should conduct regular inspections to identify and address any potential vulnerabilities, such as loose or damaged roof tiles, clogged gutters, or weak trees. Regular maintenance, such as pruning trees and clearing debris, can also help to minimize potential damage during a hurricane. By conducting regular inspections and maintenance, property managers can ensure that their properties are in good condition and better prepared to withstand the impact of a hurricane, protecting guests, staff, and the property itself.

Stocking up Emergency Supplies

Property managers should ensure that they have sufficient emergency supplies on hand, such as first aid kits, flashlights, batteries, and emergency food and water. These supplies can be essential in the event of a hurricane or other emergency, ensuring the safety and comfort of guests and staff. It is important to regularly check and replenish emergency supplies to ensure that they are in good working condition and sufficient in quantity. By stocking up on emergency supplies, property managers can be better prepared to handle any potential threats during hurricane season.

Reviewing Evacuation Plans

Property managers should ensure that they have a clear and up-to-date evacuation plan in place that outlines the procedures to be followed in the event of a hurricane. This includes identifying evacuation routes, establishing shelter locations, and communicating evacuation instructions to guests and staff. Regularly reviewing and updating the evacuation plan can help to ensure that it is effective and that all necessary resources are in place. Property managers can be better prepared to ensure the safety of guests and staff during a hurricane by regular reviews of the evacuation plan.

Developing a Plan for Remote Management

Developing a plan for remote management is an important aspect of hurricane preparedness for vacation rental properties. In the event of a hurricane or other emergency, property managers may need to manage the property remotely, especially if evacuation is necessary. A remote management plan should outline the procedures for communicating with guests and staff, monitoring the property, and coordinating repairs and maintenance. It is important to ensure that all necessary technology and equipment, such as remote monitoring systems, are in place and in good working condition. This is an area where being equipped with top-of-the-line vacation rental software like CiiRUS pays dividends for your business.

During the Hurricane

Monitoring the Weather

Monitoring the weather is one of the most important things that property managers can do to prepare for a hurricane at their vacation rental property. By closely tracking weather conditions, property managers can stay informed about potential threats and take the necessary precautions to protect their guests, staff, and property.

During hurricane season, property managers should stay up to date on weather forecasts and alerts issued by the National Hurricane Center, as well as any local news or social media updates. This includes monitoring the storm's projected path and intensity, as well as any potential flooding or storm surge risks in the area.

In addition to monitoring the weather, property managers should also have a plan in place for communicating weather updates to guests and staff. This may include using email or text message alerts, as well as posting updates on the property's website or social media accounts.

By staying informed about the weather and communicating effectively with guests and staff, property managers can be better prepared to act in the event of a hurricane. This may include implementing evacuation plans, securing outdoor objects, and stocking up on emergency supplies. By taking these steps, property managers can help ensure the safety of their guests and staff and minimize the impact of a hurricane on their vacation rental property.

Evacuation and Lockdown Procedures

Evacuation and lockdown procedures are critical aspects of hurricane preparedness for vacation rental properties. Property managers should have a clear plan in place for evacuating guests and staff in the event of a hurricane, as well as procedures for securing the property during a lockdown.

Property managers should regularly review their evacuation and lockdown procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and effective. This may include designating evacuation routes, identifying emergency shelter locations, and establishing communication protocols for alerting guests and staff of the need to evacuate.

Property managers should also have procedures in place for securing the property during a lockdown. This may include locking doors and windows, turning off utilities, and securing outdoor objects to prevent them from becoming projectiles in high winds.

Effective communication is key to implementing evacuation and lockdown procedures during a hurricane. Property managers should ensure that all staff and guests are aware of the procedures and know what to do in the event of an emergency. This may include providing written instructions, conducting training sessions, and posting signage throughout the property.

By having effective evacuation and lockdown procedures in place, property managers can help ensure the safety of their guests and staff during a hurricane. These procedures can also help minimize property damage and expedite the recovery process in the aftermath of a storm.

Communicating with Guests

Property managers should have a plan in place to communicate with guests before, during, and after a storm to ensure their safety and comfort.

During a storm, property managers should keep guests informed of any updates or changes in the situation, such as changes in the storm's path or evacuation orders. This may involve providing regular updates via email, phone, or social media, as well as posting signage throughout the property.

By effectively communicating with guests during a hurricane, property managers can help ensure their safety and comfort and minimize the impact of the storm on their vacation experience.

After the Hurricane

Assessing the Damage

Property managers should conduct a thorough inspection of the property, including the exterior and interior, to identify any damage or safety hazards that may require immediate attention. The assessment should include a detailed inspection of the property, including the exterior and interior, to identify any structural damage, water intrusion, or other issues that may have occurred during the storm.

Property managers should also assess any landscaping or outdoor amenities that may have been impacted by the storm, such as trees, decks, or swimming pools. By conducting a thorough assessment of the damage after a hurricane and prioritizing repairs and maintenance, property managers can ensure the safety and comfort of their guests and minimize the impact of the storm on their vacation experience.

Conducting Repairs and Cleanup

Property managers and staff must promptly address any damage caused by the storm to ensure the safety and comfort of guests. This includes removing debris, repairing structural damage, fixing electrical and plumbing issues, and addressing any mold or mildew problems that may arise. Property managers should prioritize repairs based on the extent of the damage and the impact on guests' safety and comfort.

They should also communicate effectively with guests, informing them about any necessary repairs or closures and providing regular updates on the progress of the recovery efforts. In some cases, property managers may need to temporarily close the vacation rental property while repairs are being made. By conducting thorough repairs and cleanup after a hurricane, property managers can ensure that their vacation rental property is safe and welcoming for guests, helping to maintain positive relationships with them and encourage return visits in the future.

Communicating with Guests

After the hurricane, property managers should communicate with guests about the status of the property and any necessary repairs or maintenance that may be required. They should also be prepared to aid and support guests who may have been impacted by the storm. Managers should provide updates through various channels, such as email, social media, and signage posted on the property.

CiiRUS vacation rental software can help you swiftly communicate every update with staff, guests, and homeowners. If the property is temporarily closed, managers should communicate this to guests and aid in finding alternative accommodation if needed. In the event of delays or unforeseen circumstances, managers should update guests regularly to keep them informed of progress.

Effective communication with guests can help maintain positive relationships and minimize the risk of negative reviews or cancellations. It can also help build trust and loyalty, as guests will appreciate the transparency and attention to their needs during a difficult time.

How can a Vacation Rental Software Help You Stay Prepared During the Hurricane Season?

Vacation rental software, such as CiiRUS, can be an essential tool for property managers during the hurricane season in 2023. Here are some ways it can help:

  1. Communication: With vacation rental software, property managers can easily communicate with guests about evacuation plans, weather updates, and property closures.
  1. Tracking reservations: Property managers can track reservations through the software and easily update guests on any changes due to the hurricane.
  1. Automated messaging: Automated messaging can be set up to notify guests of any changes or updates, saving property managers valuable time.
  1. Maintenance requests: Property managers can track maintenance requests and quickly address any damage caused by the hurricane.
  1. Accounting: Vacation rental software can help property managers track financials, including refunds and credits due to cancellations caused by the hurricane.
  1. Remote access: With remote access, property managers can manage their properties from a safe location and keep guests informed of any updates or changes.

Overall, vacation rental software such as CiiRUS vacation rental software can help property managers stay organized and prepared during the hurricane season, ensuring the safety of guests and the protection of vacation rental properties.

Conclusion

In summary, being prepared for hurricanes is substantial for property managers of vacation rentals. Creating a comprehensive hurricane preparedness checklist that includes risk assessment, communication plans, and property preparation is essential. By being prepared, property managers can minimize damage to their property and ensure the safety of their guests and staff.

We encourage all property managers of vacation rentals to create and use a hurricane preparedness checklist to safeguard their properties and ensure the safety of their guests and staff during hurricane season.

Please click here to book your demo with the CiiRUS team to walk you through the software and its productive features.

Download Our Free Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Free Hurricane Preparedness Checklist For Property Managers

Download this CiiRUS curated free Hurricane Preparedness Checklist to offer the best & safe experience to your guests.
Thanks! We'll be in touch! In the meantime, browse our full website for more information about CiiRUS.
Please check all required fields and try again. Thank you!
Josh Parry
Josh Parry
Josh is the Chief Marketing Officer at CiiRUS, where he has been working with vacation rental managers in various capacities since 2014. He is passionate about helping VRMs increase their revenue earning potential and operational efficiency.

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