Steps Toward Emergency Preparedness
From the September 2021 issue of the CCI London CCI Review
There were many issues that came to light relative to the disastrous and tragic fall of the Surfside condominium building in Florida. Time, records and expertise will be essential in their search for answers to every question that arises during the investigation.
Many circumstances of this catastrophic collapse of the building are different from those that might cause concern in our own communities, including regulations, inspections, reserve fund and building codes; and not the least of which would include climate and weather. The response to any circumstance revealing safety issues to any building wherever it may be located warrants immediate action to risk management. The significance of adherence, inspections, reporting and being vigilant is extensive.
We were also reminded of our responsibilities as owners, directors and all those who live in and who provide services to be attentive to every facet of awareness to the care and safety in our units, buildings and properties. No one is exempt from following the best practises of safety standards and the corporation’s rules.
It is shameful that such a horrific tragedy is the manner in which we learn to understand, improve and devise solutions that overcome adversity and promote even more safety awareness in our community, especially when we are continually provided opportunities to expand our study and training for the operations that we are engaged to do.
The heart wrenching search and rescue efforts for ‘unaccounted for’ persons, where investigators used property records, dispatch calls and interviews with survivors and relatives of the missing to learn who lived in the building and where they were at the time of the collapse, suggested that up-to-date data on the residents in the community might have been inadequate.
The Condominium Act, 1998 does address some issues that might arise in such a case. Perhaps better record keeping and more importantly, follow up, is required to ensure that the response in an emergency can be swift and relieve undue distress for those who are suffering, as well as those who are attending to the extraordinary efforts that are involved in recovery operations.
Section 46 of the Condominium Act, 1998 requires that:
1.Record of owners and mortgagees
A corporation shall maintain the record required by subsection (3). 2015, c. 28, Sched. 1, s. 41.
2. Notice of Owner’s name and unit
As soon as reasonably possible upon becoming an owner in a corporation and, in any event, no later than 30 days after becoming an owner in a corporation, the
owner shall give notice to the corporation in writing, setting out the owner’s name and, in accordance with the regulations, identifying the owner’s unit. 2015, c. 28, Sched. 1, s. 41.
Section 83(1) (B) of the Condominium Act, 1998 requires that:
Owners are required to provide the Condominium Corporation with required lease information within 10 days of entering a lease or the renewal of a lease. A fillable form of the Summary of Lease or Renewal can be found on the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) here.
Boards and managers often encounter the unintentional negligence of owners providing their own contact information and/or tenant information, as well as emergency contact information. More than likely, a design in systems for follow-up should be a priority where records are concerned. Eyes on the property may also alert you to the need for an owner/tenant update. Every member of a corporation’s team can be and should be involved in insuring up-to-date records.
It is recommended that every corporation have an Owner Information Form that owners can update regularly and as needed for the corporation, especially as it might be needed in response to an emergency. We are aware that some will find the process of updating the information as time consuming at best; but worst, if not available to the corporation in an emergency. Regularly scheduled reminders for updates can be posted in community newsletters or communiqués.
Up-to-date resident records, including, names of those residing on site and their contact information, vehicles, pets, tenants and residents’ emergency contact information can be invaluable to the crews performing emergency services on a property in a timely manner. It is recommended that residents advise management if they are to be away from the property for any length of time and to provide a contact person who is attending to the unit and can be in touch with the owner if the need arises. The responsibility to maintain this important information spans owners, the board and management. In an emergency, the consequence is understood.
Safety Cannot Be Taken for Granted
In business, companies spend vast amounts of time and money on establishing and maintaining a strong and positive safety culture in the workplace. We cannot ever take safety for granted at work or at home or in our community.
It is so important for everyone to ensure they are prepared for the unexpected and that information is available to share with those who are tasked with attending to an emergency. Frequent review of being prepared can be helpful in an emergency. Be prepared!
Information relating to emergency preparedness in the event of a fire in an apartment and high-rise condominiums can be found here.
More information can be found online at the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management here.—TK
Every step toward being prepared in an emergency can be life-saving!
Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hon’s) is the current part-time Adminis-trator for the CCI-London and Area Chapter, also having served in the position from April 2003-September 2010 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from CCI Na-tional in November 2006. She served on the Board of Direc-tors from 2010 to 2015 when she returned as Administrator. Trish is also a former condo-minium manager.
DISCLAIMER, USE INFORMATION AT YOUR OWN RISK
This is solely a curation of materials. Not all of this information is created, provided or vetted by CCI. Some of the information is only applicable to certain provinces. CCI does not make any warranties about the reliability or accuracy of any information found in the materials on this website. The information is not updated to reflect changes in legislation or case law and therefore may not always be current and up-to-date. We suggest you seek professional advice with respect to your specific issues or regarding any questions that arise out of the material. We will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of any of the material found on the website.