Recovering in Manufactured Home Communities Post-Hurricane Irma

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Post-Irma Tree Clean Up in Edgewater, FL.

On September 4, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida as one of the strongest hurricanes in history pummeled toward the state.

Just four days later, hundreds of thousands of Floridians across the state were under evacuation, making it the state’s largest evacuation on record. Among many of the mandatory evacuations were residents in manufactured homes, which are considered to be highly susceptible to strong winds.

Hurricane Irma was the first time in Newby Management’s history to have every community in the portfolio effected by one hurricane. While some communities had minimal damage, all were effected.

At the beginning of the hurricane season, each community has a packet available for residents. It features shelter listings, a list of items to take during an evacuation and evacuation routes so that residents have a plan.

The Newby Management corporate team began preparations for Hurricane Irma nearly a week prior to landfall. The team watched updates, double checked supplies, and made sure the team had evacuation plans.

3 days out, the Newby Management Emergeny Action (NEAT) was mobilized to begin prepping communities. NEAT  was formed in 2005, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Charley.

NEAT is a first response team to check on resident safety and property damage after a disaster like weather, fire, flood, terrorism, and violence. Over the past 11 years, the NEAT team has been deployed 15 times to assist our communities across Florida.

Tpyically, counties issue mandatory evacuations for RV and mobile home communities at least two days prior to a hurricane. While some residents choose to stay, all team members are required to evacuate.

At the home office in Ellenton, the entire team comes together to discuss NEAT deployment strategies for recovery after Irma. Because Irma was so large, our team had to be ready to head to almost any part of Florida following the storm.

There were four teams ready to go to the worst hit areas. From the home office, Newby Management had the CEO, president, IT, regional managers, marketing and training teams, along with the chaplain with boots on the ground for recovery.

As Irma made landfall in Florida, our plans changed with the storm. Todd Newby, the president, and the regional managers stayed in contact to keep the team updated. Once regional managers began hearing from the communities, the latest deployment plans were put into action.

Irma made landfall in many of our communities through Saturday night and into Sunday. Some of the NEAT team was ready to respond as quickly as Monday afternoon.

From Tuesday through the following Monday, there were teams from the home office and sister communities in Lakeland, Fort Myers and east coast areas. Most of he communities had resident volunteers who helped each other, as well as assisted in the clean-up of common areas.

It was a blessing to see our team members and residents come together and serve each other following the hurricane. In one community, there was a couple who couldn’t do physical work, so they grilled hamburgers. In another community, there was a resident who rode around giving out coffee and doubts.

Thanks to the efforts of NEAT, the team and residents, within a week of the hurricane you’d never know there was a disaster in most communities. There are still repairs in some, but largely the communities fared well. The amazing response of the team helped keep everyone safe and make recovery easier for all.

Learn more about NEAT and how Newby Management assists our communities in times of disaster.

Manufactured Homes Fare Irma Better Than Expected

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Post-Irma Tree Clean Up in Edgewater, FL.

Manufactured homes are considered among America’s most vulnerable housing, so it’s no surprise that owners were concerned for their assets during the storm.

There are 850,000 manufactured homes in Florida, more than any other state, and most fared well during the storm, sustaining only minor damages.

While many are surprised by this fact, manufactured home professionals are not. Following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, manufactured housing codes were updated to make homes safer during natural disasters.

For example, manufactured home regulations added over-roof anchors  post-Andrew. This update is expected to have saved many homes during the most recent hurricane to strike Florida. Previously, most homes were only secured by connecting the frame to a rod buried in the ground.

Today, HUD codes for manufactured homes in hurricane zones are equivalent to the current standards for regional and national site-built codes. Manufactured homes are constructed to withstand wind speeds of 150 miles per hour in Wind Zone 2 and 163 miles per hour in Wind Zone 3, based on standards from the 2010 International Building Code.

This means modern manufactured homes are constructed to hold up in a Category 5 hurricane. Additionally, federal regulations for manufactured homes require design and quality assurance professionals during construction. Each home must also have a label certifying it has been designed, constructed, tested and inspected to comply with federal standards, which site-built homes do not require.

With the improvements in both manufactured home safety, and how they are built, it’s no surprise that they fared better than expected during Hurricane Irma. Although the media frenzy expected all homes to be destroyed, manufactured homes fared similar to site-built homes.

Working to end the stigma towards manufactured homes is an important part of the industry. As we change people’s long-held beliefs on manufactured home quality, safety and design, we can start to revolutonalize the way people buy homes.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane in Your Manufactured Home

Property Management Florida, Manufactured Home Property Management, RV Property Management, Hurricane PreparednessFlorida is days away from one of the largest hurricanes on record making landfall in the sunshine state. Hurricane Irma is recorded as a Category 5 Hurricane, one of the strongest in history, and although its path is unknown, Florida is still a target. Right now, the state is urging residents to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

If you live in a manufactured home, preparation is key. Here is a checklist of items you should check on your home today:

  • Ensure your manufactured home has secure anchors and tie-downs as required by Florida law.
  • Make sure your address is clearly marked on your home.
  • Purchase plywood, shutters, plastic sheeting and nails to secure your home.
  • Review your insurance and document your home, along with your valuables.
  • Gather all outdoor furniture and decorations and move them to a safe indoor location. Tie it down or bring it in!
  • Check the skirting and roof on your home and make sure any loose pieces are secure. 
  • Trim dead or broken branches from trees.
  • Get your disaster kit ready with items like flashlights, batteries, radios and more. Check out USA Today’s Hurricane Kit recommendations.
  • Get out cash and fill up your tanks now.
  • Refill any prescriptions. 
  • Have an evaucation plan- if your area is evacuated please leave!

At Newby Management, our team has NEAT (Newby Emergency Action Team), which mobilizes after a natural disaster. NEAT was formed in 2005 to respond to disasters that may occur in our communities.

These disasters include hurricanes, fire, tornadoes, flooding and terrorism. The goal for NEAT at the community level is to equip community management to be prepared to deal with disasters when they happen within their communities in a professional and organized manner, that will help protect people and property. In this way, we are serving the residents and meeting their needs.

Our team is keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma and working with our communities and team members to keep everyone safe. Please take this time to prepare, and stay tuned to the local news to watch progress as the storm nears.