If you’re a resident renting a Tampa home, it’s important that you know how to handle an emergency, whether it’s a crisis that’s happening in your home or your community. As a Tampa property management company, we work hard to protect our residents and to prepare them for any potential emergency issue, whether it’s a maintenance emergency or a global pandemic.
Today, we want to share some tips and information that may help you to manage an emergency – whether you live in a Mynd property or any other rental home throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Preparation is Critical During Emergencies
No one likes to think about emergencies occurring, but there are some good ways to handle one if it does happen.
Preparation is the most important tool and defense that you have against any emergency situation. When you’re starting the move-in process at a new home and you’ve just signed a lease, make sure you get prepared as soon as possible. Understand your property and get to know where you’re living.
If you’re in an apartment building or a multi-family home, take a walk around the entire property to get an idea of where the emergency exits are. You’ll want to know how to get out of the building if there’s a fire or a flood or any other disaster.
If you’re in a single-family home, make sure you know where your shut-off valves are for water and gas. You’ll want to know how to turn these things off if there’s suddenly a leak or a flood inside the home. Not only do you want to know where they’re located, you’ll also need to know how to operate them.
Walk through the home before or after you move in and make sure you’re comfortable with what’s there and how everything works. Identify your smoke detectors and find your breakers.
Hopefully, your landlord or property manager is helping you get to know the property. You should also have a list of phone numbers and contacts in case there is an emergency. Being prepared for an emergency before it happens will dramatically increase the chances that you get through it easily and without a lot of harm or hassle. Your safety and the safety of your family is the most important thing you’re protecting. After that, you want to make sure your personal items and your home are secure. Make sure you know what you have to do.
Be Clear on How an Emergency is Defined
Obviously, a hurricane or a tropical storm is an emergency. A fire is definitely an emergency. If a tree falls through your roof and breaks every window in the house; that’s an emergency. These are easy to identify. Things can get tricky, however, when it comes to maintenance emergencies. As a resident, make sure you understand the definition of the emergency. You and your landlord need to be on the same page about that.
There’s a legal definition for emergencies as far as habitability issues are concerned. Air conditioning in the middle of the summer, for example, needs to be working. There’s also an emergency definition in the lease agreement you signed with your landlord. Your rental contract should spell out what to do and who to contact if there is a maintenance emergency. It should also be clear about how to define an emergency in your property.
Make sure you review this and understand it. A light bulb that has gone out, for example, is usually not an emergency. However, if you find yourself in the middle of a fire or a flood, you’ll need to know that these things qualify as emergencies, and you’ll want to get out of the property right away. Make sure you have a plan for how to do that and how to contact the appropriate authorities.
Your personal property is important to you, but most of it can probably be replaced. Your first priority is to keep yourself safe and secure and able to get out of the property. All the other actions can come later. That’s another conversation we’ll have in the future about insurance.
Safely Store Your Documentation and Information
Storing information is an important part of emergency preparedness. You want to have everything you need in a file for when you can access hard copies of insurance policies, passports, bank account information, and other documents. But, you probably have a smart phone, too. Take pictures of these critical documents. Store electronic copies of documents and agreements so you can access them even if you’re unable to get inside your home to grab the original file.
All of the pertinent contact information should be stored in your phone, including the phone numbers for your landlord or property management company, the local hospital and fire department, health departments, poison control centers, the CDC, and anything else you can think of.
When a pipe bursts, your first instinct is going to be to get out of the home. But, if you’re familiar with the house and can turn the water off and save your personal property, you’re going to be in a much stronger position during and after the emergency. You don’t want to lose your brand new television to a flooded house.
We want you to be comfortable and prepared, even in the face of an emergency. It’s easy to get scared and emotional when things start feeling out of our control. But, don’t panic, because that can often make things worse. Stay calm and relaxed. Remember that you’re going to get through the emergency; things are going to be okay. You’ll keep yourself safe and easily fall back on your emergency plan and all of your early preparation.
If you’re a Tampa resident who would like to know more about the properties we have available, please contact us at Mynd Property Management. We’d love to have you work with us as a resident, and to help you find the perfect home.