Hurricane season for The Gulf of Mexico stretches from summer through the end of fall, and The 2016 Hurricane Season is likely to be more active than last year.
Five storms have been named so far this season – Hurricane Alex and Tropical Storms Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, and Earl. However, forecasters are keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Earl as it’s projected to develop into a Hurricane.
Serious storm threats usually come in August, September and October. The good news is that major storms are rare, and Hattiesburg is 70 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. However, emergency preparedness is vital for South Mississippi residents. We at Southgate Realty, LLC always have safety in mind, and encourage our residents to be ready in case a storm hits the Gulf Coast.
How to evacuate in Hattiesburg
Even if Hattiesburg doesn’t take a direct hit from a hurricane, evacuation may be necessary for other reasons. For example, high winds and heavy rain associated with hurricanes often trigger power outages and area flooding. If a long-term outage is expected or area homes have been damaged, local authorities will open emergency shelters. Officials will use local radio and media outlets to tell the public where to go. Options in the past have included local schools, Red Cross Centers, multipurpose buildings, and other local community facilities.
If a severe storm is expected, emergency management authorities will ask residents to evacuate and move inland. The Mississippi Department of Transportation offers a hurricane preparation checklist and 2016 evacuation highway guide.
Communication is vital, if you evacuate, let your property manager know if possible. Also, be sure to let us know if you have any special needs that we can help with. Pets should never be left behind in an evacuation. Pet owners should stay tuned to local radio and media outlets to find out which shelters are designated as pet friendly.
Southgate will email and text important messages to keep residents informed and prepared.
How to prepare your apartment for a hurricane
Before a storm hits, be sure to buy emergency supplies for your residence, such as nonperishable foods, ice, candles, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, and a radio. Have clean water on hand — about five gallons per person. If you have young children, be sure to have enough diapers and food or formula on hand. You can also find ideas for a basic emergency supply kit from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Every Southgate Realty residence has a fire extinguisher, which is inspected by an independent fire and safety company every year.
Whether you expect to evacuate or not, there are steps you can take to keep yourself and your property safe:
- Make an evacuation plan with friends and family ahead of time.
- Bring any personal items you have inside. High winds can toss around even heavy outdoor items.
- Use or cook as much as possible from your refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage.
- Wash and dry all your clothes before the storm hits.
- Buy emergency supplies for your car, such as a roadside emergency kit, jumper cables and a map. Fill your car up with gas.
- Withdraw as much cash from Banks and ATMs
- Save critical phone numbers on paper and in your phone.
- Pick up any prescription medicine you may need ahead of time.
- Listen to the radio or check local media for nearby emergency shelters just in case.
- Pack an evacuation bag if you think you may need to leave. Be sure to include your passport, other key documents and your phone charger.
- If you aren’t evacuating, lower your freezer and fridge temperature to the coldest possible setting in case of a power outage. If the power outage is short, your food may remain cold enough to keep.
How Southgate Realty prepares for a hurricane
While you are preparing for the hurricane season, we are also preparing for potential storms. If a storm does hit, we want the recovery process to be as smooth as possible for our residents.
Before a storm, the Southgate team is working behind the scenes to prepare. We reach out to our vendors to create a plan of action. Our contracted roofers are on standby, ready to fix any leaks as quickly as possible after the storm has passed. Southgate communicates with insurance companies and emergency disaster relief officials to obtain the most current information. We prepare our emergency supplies, such as generators, tarps, food, water, and other supplies. In addition, we prep our apartment communities by securing all trash cans, pool furniture, and other outdoor items in case of high winds.
After the storm has passed, we begin working with all our partners to help repair our properties as quickly as possible and assist residents in any way we can. We are committed to effective communication with local relief efforts, insurance companies, vendors, and residents.
Emergency situations can be frightening, but preparing ahead of time can put your mind at ease. Know that we at Southgate Realty are working behind the scenes to be prepared and respond as quickly as possible.