Hurricane Season begins June 1st and runs through November 30th, with the peak of activity in August and September. During this time, we ask that all property owners and residents stay aware of the weather reports and have a hurricane preparedness plan in place for your family and your property. Make a plan with your family as to what to do should your home begin to flood, and have a hurricane supply kit ready.
We advise the following to prepare for hurricane season:
Make sure gutter downspouts are not clogged to allow for proper water flow. Report this if you notice they are clogged.
In the event of a storm, your personal property and possessions are not covered by the homeowners insurance. You must have a renters insurance policy for your contents.
If you do have renters insurance, you should have an inventory of items that you own in the home including a list with serial and model numbers as well as photos or video to document your possessions. Insurance experts recommend routinely taking a detailed inventory of your possessions.
Please remember, your insurance policy does not cover flood damages. You must secure a separate flood insurance policy for this to be covered. If you live near any body of water, we do recommend securing flood insurance.
The good news is that renters insurance is very affordable in comparison to homeowner's insurance! Renters insurance policies start as low as $20 per month. If you do not yet have renters insurance, we recommend getting it after the storm passes to be sure you are protected in future in case of more extreme circumstances. If you are reading this and there is not a named storm in the Gulf of Mexico, it may not be too late to procure renters insurance.
If you live in a low lying area, near any body of water, or in an area prone to flooding, please stay up to date with any evacuation orders from local authorities. Follow Escambia County Emergency Management for updates on Facebook and on their website.
If you experience start to experience flooding in your home:
- Shut off electrical power and natural gas or propane tanks in your home to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions. Unplug appliances.
- Wear rubber soled boots so you can reduce your risk of electrocution. Wear waterproof jackets. Make sure you have enough protective gear for your family.
- Move valuable items and papers/documents to higher grounds.
- Be ready to evacuate if needed.
Remember, it is not safe to drive through flooded areas. Stay out of floodwater as hidden hazards are often present. Here is some additional information from the CDC in regards to protecting yourself in floodwaters.
We recommend checking flood zones and evacuation zones now, so you will be prepared for hurricane season.
Search for Flood Zones:
Use FEMA's site to search Flood Zones for all counties. Just type in your address(es) here. Zone X is the most desirable in our area as the X denotes a minimal flood risk, but it does not mean your property cannot flood during a storm.
Search Evacuation Zones:
Do you know if you live in an evacuation zone? Use the maps below to search for your property and check.
Search Local Shelters:
Are you in a mandatory evacuation zone, or would you feel safer somewhere else? Here’s a list of shelters.
Hurricane Preparedness Resources:
Here are some resources from professional organizations.
- National Hurricane Center
- State of Florida Hurricane Preparedness Information
- Florida Emergency Management Hurricane Season 2019
- Be Ready Escambia
- Ready.Gov from the Department of Homeland Security
- EPA Natural Disasters
- Preparedness for people with disabilities
- Preparedness for seniors
- Military Family Preparedness
- Financial Preparedness
Monitor Weather Conditions:
- National Hurricane Center
- Mike's Weather Page
- The Weather Channel Hurricane Central
- Local News: WEARTV Channel 3
Should a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Hit the Area:
The National Weather Service will issue a tropical storm or hurricane watch within 24-36 hours of hurricane conditions. Local emergency management advises residents to be self-sufficient for 3-14 days. You must make several preparations to prepare for a storm should it impact our area.
Protecting and Securing your Home:
Per your tenant handbook, you are required to protect and secure the home just as the homeowner of the property would. The better you secure your home, the less likely damage will occur to your personal property.
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, plants, decorations, garbage cans, and anything else that is not tied down. Any item that is not secured can become a projectile and damage your property. These items, if not removed, can cause serious damage to your home or to a neighbor. This is very important!
- Do not put tape on your windows.
- Do not crack windows or doors. A tightly sealed exterior is important to maintain during a storm.
- If a window should break during a storm, safely evacuate the area until it is safe to return
- Park your vehicles somewhere safe, never under or near trees or in low lying areas prone to flooding.
- Before evacuating, you must turn off the power and water supply to the home. Shut off your breakers (except to the fridge unless it is emptied) and turn off all water valves at sinks, the water heater, and behind your toilet. Please call your utility company or our office with questions.
- Be sure to throw away any perishable items prior to evacuating.
- Never leave any type of pets behind if you evacuate.
- Should you evacuate for a storm, we ask you to email our office to notify us. This will help our team complete disaster assessments more efficiently.
Hurricane Shutters are recommended at a direct hit of category 2 or higher. regardless.
If you are unsure if your property has hurricane shutters, look for them now. A good way to tell if your property has shutters is to look at the outside window frames. If there are pegs around the window, it is likely your property has hurricane shutters. They are typically stored in the garage. We do not store shutters in the attic of properties so please do not access the attic for safety reasons. Reach out to our office if you are unsure if you have hurricane shutters or if you are unaware of where they are located.
How to Install Hurricane Shutters:
There are two main types of hurricane shutters.
- How to install hurricane shutters- Metal Panels
- How to install hurricane shutters- Fabric Shield Shutters
- You should not have to screw anything into your siding or window frames to install hurricane shutters.
Preparations before hurricane:
Plan ahead. If you don't already have a plan, make one right now.
- Listen to the news! Stay informed at all times. Have a battery-operated radio and batteries.
- Know your evacuation routes. Determine where you would go and how you would get there.
- Make sure to include your pets in your evacuation plans as most shelters and many hotels do not allow for pets. You cannot leave any pets (including kenneled or caged animals) in your home when you evacuate!
- If you plan on staying in your home, make sure you are prepared with supplies to last 3-14 days. Learn the location of nearby shelters in case you need to leave your home after a storm.
- Fill all vehicles with gas and get cash from the ATM.
- Locate and secure all important papers, including insurance policies, wills, license, etc.
- Take inventory of your home! Maintain a written list of your possessions. Be specific and include serial numbers. Document with photos and/or video for your insurance company.
- Talk to your children about how and when to call 911.
- Make sure you have an operable fire extinguisher and everyone knows how to use it.
- Establish an emergency meeting place in case your family gets separated.
- Be aware of and abide by all evacuation orders, especially in low lying areas and coastal areas prone to flooding.
Local emergency management experts encourage you to have 3-14 days' worth of supplies. Utilize the following supply checklist to prepare.
- Large supply of Nonperishable Foods
- Battery Operated Radio
- Flashlights & Batteries
- Candles & Lighters
- First Aid Kit and Manual
- Insect repellent
- Clean containers for water and ice. You need at least 5 gallons of water per person.
- Clean bathtub and fill with clean water
- Fire extinguisher
- Prescription medicines and/or refills
- Disposable cleaning cloths
- Hand sanitizer
- Personal hygiene products
- Pet supplies
- Battery operated fan
- Car charger for cell phone
- Grill and propane
- Prepare emergency supply kit for a vehicle with essentials in case you are displaced
Safety during Hurricane:
It’s important to remain vigilant during the storm and take proper precautions to keep your family safe.
- Do not go outside or try to travel during the storm. Stay indoors until the storm is declared over and be wary of the "eye of the storm" when it appears calm as conditions quickly worsen as the eye passes.
- Find a safe room in your home that can serve as protection during the worst parts of the storm. Seeking an interior room, with the fewest windows or doors, is the safest option. Many times this area is the bathroom, laundry room or hallway on the first floor of your home.
- If you lose power during a storm, you should unplug all appliances and turn off the air conditioner system. After receiving power back, wait at least 30 minutes before turning on the air conditioner and major appliances to prevent power surges.
After the Hurricane:
Here's what you need to know and resources to assist after a disaster. Safety should be a priority during and after the storm.
- Stay away from downed power lines. Do not attempt to walk or drive through flooded areas. Hidden debris can be very dangerous and depth levels deceiving.
- Do not use generators inside the home or in an enclosed room. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly. Do not wire generators to the breaker box.
- Do not attempt to climb on the roof or enter any other hazardous situation.
- Make sure to listen to officials for instructions. Typically, roads are not passable and curfews are imposed. For your safety, do not leave your home (unless necessary for your safety) until officials say it's okay to do so. For questions, call Emergency Management.
Report any damage to management immediately through your online portal.We will dispatch contractors on a triage system as soon as conditions and roads allow.
- If damage to our area is severe, we will be inspecting properties as soon as possible after the storm. If your home appears to have damage and you are not home, we will enter the premises to document the damages.
- Written authorization by the homeowner or landlord must be obtained prior to FEMA or any other person or agency installing a tarp on the roof! The tenant is not authorized to do any repairs without written authorization.
FEMA Assistance Eligibility:
If a disaster is declared, there may be assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. FEMA may be able to assist with temporary housing, emergency funds, and losses without insurance. For more information: Disaster Assistance, Apply for Disaster Assistance FEMA, Red Cross Northwest Florida Chapter