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Weather Alert: review these storm preparedness tips

Precautions You Can Take Against Lighting As A Homeowner

Warm weather usually means fun in the Carolina sun, but summer heat also can bring severe weather. Threatening thunderstorms often loom large on summer afternoons, so it’s important to be prepared for downpours and accompanying lightning. Consider the following suggestions when planning both outdoor and indoor events this summer to reduce the risk of a lightning strike.

  • Watch the weather. Pay attention to your local weather forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If there’s a chance of thunderstorms, consider rescheduling or moving the event indoors. If that’s not possible, have an emergency plan in place in case a severe storm rolls in, and designate a sufficient nearby structure as an emergency shelter.
  • Stay inside. If severe thunderstorms are imminent, go indoors and wait until they pass. Safe, enclosed shelters include homes, schools, offices, shopping malls and vehicles with hard tops and closed windows. Open structures and spaces do not provide adequate protection.
  • Duck and crouch. If you’re caught outside during a severe storm, it’s important to crouch low on the ground, tuck your head and cover your ears to help protect yourself from harm. Do not lie down; lightning strikes can produce extremely strong electrical currents that run along the top of the ground, and laying horizontally increases electrocution risk.
  • Turn off faucets. During a thunderstorm, lightning can sometimes be conducted through the plumbing. Avoid any type of contact with running water, including bathing, showering and washing your hands, dishes or clothes.
  • Turn off electronics. All electrical appliances—televisions, computers, laptops, gaming systems, stoves and more—that are plugged into an electrical outlet could carry a current from a lightning strike. Surge protectors will reduce the risk of damaging electronics.

Stay away from windows. Not only is lightning a threat, but high winds and hail create flying debris that could be harmful during a thunderstorm. Close all windows and doors and stay as far away from them as possible.

Weekend Getaways

Regardless of what season it is in the South, there’s always a weekend getaway waiting to happen! For travel ideas within the Carolinas and the Southeast, activity suggestions and trip planning can be found by visiting,

A partnership of 12 federal agencies, including the Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Archives, offers advanced reservations at 2,500 federal areas for more than 60,000 facilities and activities. The website offers interactive maps and a searchable database to make it easier to discover parks, forests, lakes, museums and other recreation opportunities in the Southeast. It also features numerous volunteer opportunities, contests and lotteries for special events, such as the White House Easter Egg Roll and the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Get excited to get outdoors and explore your local attractions. From day hikes to car camping, historical exhibits to fishing, has tons of ideas for sparking your inner adventurer.

Board Education

At Southern Community Services, we love an educated board. One great resource for training is the Board Leadership Development Workshop offered by the Community Associations Institute (CAI). This training teaches board members how to communicate with association residents, hire qualified managers and service providers, develop enforceable rules, interpret governing documents and more. It provides a comprehensive look at the roles and responsibilities of community association leaders and conveys information to help create and maintain the kind of community people want to call home.

Along with the lectures, you will receive ra complete toolbox of resources containing:

  • The Board Member Tool Kit
  • The Board Member Tool Kit Workbook
  • Community Association Leadership: A Guide for Volunteers
  • Managing & Governing: How Community Associations Function, by Clifford J. Treese
  • The Homeowner & the Community Association brochure
  • From Good to Great: Principles for Community Association Success brochure

Whether you live in a condominium, homeowners association (HOA) or other type of community, the Board Leadership Development Workshop highlights what every board member needs to know to serve effectively. The workshop consists of five modules:

  • Module 1: Governing Documents and Roles & Responsibilities. To start you on the right path, Module 1 helps you understand the legal authority for your association. It also clarifies the duties and responsibilities of each board member and the professionals who are available to assist the board.
  • Module 2: Communications, Meetings and Volunteerism. Module 2 helps you learn how to maximize volunteer involvement in your community association by improving board communications, conducting effective meetings and building community spirit.
  • Module 3: Fundamentals of Financial Management. Module 3 introduces the fundamentals of association financial management, including guidelines for protecting your association’s assets, preparing a budget, planning for the future and collecting assessments.
  • Module 4: Professional Advisors and Service Providers. Because putting together the right team to support your association can be challenging, Module 4 provides practical tips on finding, evaluating and hiring qualified professional advisors and service providers.
  • Module 5: Association Rules and Conflict Resolution. Module 5 explores guidelines for making reasonable association rules, enforcing rules fairly and resolving conflict effectively.

Consider the benefits of becoming an educated board member and signing up for the CAI training.

Government Urges Americans to be Prepared

It is always important to be prepared for the worst because natural disasters and terror-related emergencies can happen at any point in time. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and your homeowners association continues to urge residents to make plans and learn about the resources they can use to prepare for emergencies. DHS is encouraging Americans everywhere to obtain emergency supply kits, make family emergency plans and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could affect them. HOAs encourage all residents to visit the DHS website at

In addition to planning guides and an instructional video, the website offers a variety of preparedness tips, as well as specialized information for seniors, those with disabilities and other special needs. The government’s message to Americans is clear: “We must have the tools and plans in place to make it on our own, at least for a period of time, no matter where we are when disaster strikes. Just like having a working smoke detector, preparing for the unexpected makes sense.”

Visit and plan ahead. You should always hope for the best, but can be shortsighted if you don’t prepare for the worst.

Government Support is One Click Away

You’ve probably heard the old joke, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” While there are times most would agree this is a contradiction, government agencies do provide an unlimited variety of free advice, guidance and information, and most of it is now a computer click away. However, finding what you need among millions of websites that populate the Internet can be difficult.

For those times when you need some help, there is one website your homeowners association recommends you should put on your computer desktop or save in your browser. It’s the U.S. government’s official web portal: The information is arranged by topic and includes consumer guides, family home and community, money and taxes, public safety and law, voting and elections and many, many more. The website also provides a convenient resource called “Get It Done Online,” an alphabetized list of government services you can access from your computer. This resource connects you to more than 100 tasks you can complete via computer, which includes replacing vital records, contacting elected officials, acquiring or renewing passports, renewing your driver’s license and even shopping government auctions. Perhaps best of all, you can find links to your own state and local agencies at: