April 2013

Dealing With The Demands of Major Disasters for You and Your H.O.A.
Disaster Management

There have been some ugly national events in recent weeks. It gives us all reason to question the security of our communities. The U.S. Citizen's Corp which serves under FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has made it clear that there are not enough first responders available to meet the service demands of a major disaster. Most community association documents and many state statutes direct associations to operate for the health, safety, comfort, and general welfare of the members. Dialing 911 is simply not enough.

A community disaster plan must be customized for each community and for each type of disaster. The steps that you would take if you live in a high rise during a tornado or a flood would be different for a low rise building that may or may not have a basement. The first step in creating a community disaster plan is to create a Disaster Master File. Then it should be put in a safe but easy to access location, duplicated and stored in another location and also put in electronic form. Here is what it should include:
  • A separate disaster plan that documents what to do based on each disaster that could potentially threaten your community.
  • Contact information for all directors, managers, staff, contractors, insurance agents and adjusters and other professionals who may be needed in an emergency. This must be updated regularly.
  • Physical inventory of all common area equipment including brand names, model numbers and serial numbers. Taking photographs of these assets can be great when it comes to identification for insurance claims later.
  • Policies, Emergency Preparedness Information (free from local civil defense agencies) and forms to be used to communicate with members of your community during a disaster should be thought through and ready to use before the emergency takes place.

Insurance and financial planning is important to a smooth recovery after the disaster. Is your insurance adequate? Do you have an all-risk coverage plan that provides coverage for all perils except those that have been specifically excluded? Does your community have a contingency fund to cover those excluded perils or anything else that might not be covered?

Who should create this plan? Ideally, a committee of the association board which would include members of the community, a board liaison and the property manager would be best. After the plan has been put together, reviewed by and approved by the Board, a Disaster Management Resident Handbook can be created and distributed to the entire community.

Community staff and volunteers who are going to perform special tasks during an emergency should be properly trained. The association can conduct fire drills on a regular basis. This will keep people from forgetting what to do and ensure preparedness.

How you communicate during and after a disaster is critical to ensuring safety and minimizing trauma. Who will do the official communicating? Too many cooks in the kitchen are not a good idea. Will it be done via cell phone, two way radios or walkie-talkies? Global, frequent central communication from the association board can move the recovery along much faster after the disaster. Keeping in touch and coordinated will minimize the impact of the disaster.

Disasters can't be controlled, but to a great extent they can be managed. Taking the time to create a community disaster plan is an act of responsibility and compassion done with the hope you will never have to use it. Your Cagan Property Manager can help guide you through this process.  

Information Provided by CAI Press, a division of the Community Association Institute  

The Heroes of Community Associations
in the U.S.A.!
  • An estimated 2 million volunteers serve on community association boards, with tens of thousands more serving as committee members.
  • There are at least 320,000 community association annual meetings every year, at least 2.5 million association board meetings and an estimated one million association committee meetings a year. 
  • The estimated annual value of the time devoted by board members and other resident volunteers to their community associations is $850 million. According to one estimate, about 26 percent of the eligible U.S. population volunteers at some point during a year; community association leaders volunteer continuously during a year-a large percentage of them for many years. 
  • In 2012, association boards supervised the collection of close to $40 billion in annual assessments and maintained investment accounts of more than $35 billion for the long-term maintenance and replacement of commonly held property.
  • Estimated number of community association managers: 60,000 
  • Estimated number of community association management companies: 10,000
  • CAI estimates that only 15-25 percent of common-interest communities are self-managed, meaning they do not employ an onsite manager or use the services of an association management company. 
The Collegiate Real Estate Conference

The Collegiate Real Estate Conference took place on April 5th at the DePaul University Loop Campus. Michael Daniels, one of the Principals and Chief Operating Officer of Cagan helped students learn about the eclectic world of real estate and property management. The goal of this educational program is to expose students to the many career options available to them. Here you see Michael with his usual intense enthusiasm for the business answering student questions as part of a professional panel. Way to go Chief!
Cagan Spring Leadership Seminar

If your building has a steam heat system, this is the seminar for you! You will learn how to launch a global analysis of your system, plan for long term maintenance and possibly save your community 30% in energy bills. If you have boiler or fireplace chimneys...when was the last time the linings were checked and maintenance done? Did you know that steam heat is generally healthier and the preferred system in Europe? It is also a greener way to heat. Our next Cagan Leadership Seminar is May 9th, 6:30PM in the Cagan training room at our Skokie headquarters. Don't miss it! Light supper included. Reserve your place now by contacting Janet Nelson, jnelson@cagan.com or 847-324-8961. Here is the line-up:
  • Shanna Modisette, Cagan Management H.O.A. Superviso
  • Global Steam Heat System Analysis
  • Fireplace, Flue and Chimney Maintenance and Renovation
  • Tree Care and Maintenance 
Want to pay your assessments on line or
set-up a direct debit?  


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Skokie, IL 60076

(847) 679-5512


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