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Hurricane Preparation Information for Realty Masters Tenants

Hurricane Season begins June 1st and runs through November 30th, with the peak of activity in the summer months of 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. Here's some information to help assist our clients with general preparedness. 

Tropical Storm/ Potential Hurricane Sally Information

We are currently under a Tropical Storm Warning, Flash Flood Watch, and a Coastal Flood Advisor until later this week. Please monitor the local weather forecasts for updates. Given the slow moving nature of this storm, this will be a long-lasting rain event which has the potential to cause significant flooding even here in the Pensacola area. We are mainly concerned about flash flooding as we are anticipating as much as 15 inches of rain. The rain will begin tonight. 

At this time, we are advising the following:

  • Bring outside items inside that can become a projectile. We could experience wind gusts in excess of 35 miles per hour and these items can break a window or damage a neighboring property. 
  • At this time, we are not advising storm shutters as we are not worried about high impact from winds. 
  • Make sure gutter downspouts are not clogged to allow for proper water flow. 
  • Park your vehicles away from trees and low lying areas. 
  • Make a plan with your family as to what to do should your home begin to flood. 

Flooding Information

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. We expect the flooding to get severe on Tuesday and carry into Wednesday. 

If you experience start to experience flooding in your home, the CDC advises the following:

  • 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 water proof 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

You should check flood zones and evacuation zones NOW. Do not wait. 

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 denotes a minimal flood risk.

Search Evacuation Zones
Do you know if you live in an evacuation zone? Use this link to search for your property or check the maps below.

Escambia County Evacuation Zones 
Santa Rosa County Evacuation Zones

Before the storm: Are you evacuating? Please update our office with your contact and evacuation information here.

After the storm: Please fill out this form to notify us of your property condition, including any damages, after a storm. Report Property Condition.

Property Owners: Review Hurricane Information for property owners here! 

We appreciate your patience as we work diligently to assess all properties and address them in the order of severity of damages. 

Renters Insurance

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. 

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.

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 $15 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.

Here's 3 Reasons to Get Renters Insurance

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. Check with the company that handles your car insurance or reach out to us for local insurance agent recommendations. 

Hurricane Shutters

At this time, we are not recommending the installation of hurricane shutters or plywood. As of now, we are recommending that you remove and/or secure any items outdoors that could become projectiles. Please review the hurricane information below for more details. 

  • Regardless of development, 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.

Now is a good time to look to see if your property has hurricane shutters.
If you are unsure if your property has hurricane shutters, take the time to look for them now. It is better that you are aware prior to the need to use them. We do not store shutters in the attic of properties so please do not access the attic for safety reasons. Reach out to your manager if you are unsure if you have hurricane shutters or if you are unaware of where they are located. 

How to Install Hurricane Shutters:

You should not have to screw anything into your siding or window frames to install hurricane shutters. Reach out to our office with any questions.

Preparing for a Tropical Storm or Hurricane

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 denotes a minimal flood risk.

Search Evacuation Zones
Do you know if you live in an evacuation zone? Use this link to search for your property or check the maps below.

Escambia County Evacuation Zones 
Santa Rosa County Evacuation Zones

Search Local Shelters
Escambia Evacuation Shelter List  
Santa Rosa County Evacuation Shelter List

Hurricane Preparedness Resources:

Montior Weather Conditions: 

Realty Masters Blog Articles:

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. Please review the following information in regards to hurricanes including your obligations in securing the home.

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! 

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.

Preparations before hurricane

  • Plan ahead. If you don't already have a plan, make one right now. It's not too late.
  • 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. (Unfortunately, it is too late to secure renters insurance if you do not already have it.)
  • 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.

Supplies checklist
Local emergency management experts encourage you to have 3-14 days' worth of supplies.
___ 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.
___ Water purifying supplies- chlorine & iodine tablets
___ 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
___ Walking talkies
___ Prepare emergency supply kit for a vehicle with essentials in case you are displaced

Safety during Hurricane
- 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 

Report Property Condition after a storm here

Here's what you need to know and resources to assist after a disaster. 

After the Hurricane

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.
- Without power, you will find yourself more exposed to insects. Protect yourself and family from bugs by wearing insect repellent.

Report any damage to management immediately.

We will dispatch contractors on a triage system as soon as conditions and roads allow.
- 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.
- 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.
Disaster Assistance
Apply for Disaster Assistance FEMA
Red Cross Northwest Florida Chapter

Our after hours emergency line is (850) 512-6019. Please keep in mind, after a major storm or hurricane, we may have limited resources and be unable to respond or assist immediately to requests. Reach out to 911 or county officials if you have an immediate need. If you do not feel safe after a storm, vacate your property immediately and return only after receiving proper authority to do so.