If you see a fire in your homeowner association, call 911. If there’s a burglary in progress, call 911. A good rule of thumb is to call 911 when someone’s life, safety, health or property is in immediate jeopardy. 911 is the emergency service call center that can get the right professionals to you quickly. Don’t call a Board member or your property management company.
It’s unlikely that a Board member can save the day in an emergency. Few, if any, have training in emergency response. They can’t answer the questions that 911 will ask because they aren’t on the scene. A Board member can only tell you to call 911. The extra time that it takes you to call a Board member before contacting 911 can be the difference in saving someone’s life or home.
When there’s a situation where immediate danger is involved (crime, fire, injury, etc.), 911 is always your best resource. Police, fire departments, and EMS also have non-emergency numbers to handle reports when there’s no immediate danger. For example, a burglary that occurred in the night, but no suspect is still on the scene. Typically, you should contact the police’s non-emergency number for thefts, vandalism, assaults that don’t require medical attention, etc.
Yes, Board members keep an eye on the safety of the community. You may also have a safety committee that performs safety checks. Ultimately, the Board is responsible for adding features that help make the association a safer place to live. Exterior lighting, speed bumps, overgrown landscaping, properly working doors and gates, etc. are typical items that fall in their jurisdiction. You should report any 911 calls to the Board after the crisis, but don’t call them as the first responder.
Even if your community has a neighborhood watch, their jobs are to observe and report. If they see any suspicious activity in the community, they have been trained to contact the appropriate people to handle it. All residents should follow this action plan.
Typically, your Board will discuss any safety issues or situations to the HOA’s property manager. Being aware of events that have occurred helps them work together to develop and implement practical solutions. If you have a concern or suggestion about safety, discuss it with your Board through the appropriate communication channel.
The important thing to remember is that quick action can save a life or a home. Call 911 if there’s a danger in your homeowner association — not a Board member and not your property manager.