PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Escambia County officials are encouraging residents to prepare their homes two weeks before hurricane season begins.

It takes just one major hurricane to change your life forever. Emergency Management officials in Escambia County want you to be prepared in case one makes landfall close to home this year.

“If we call for an evacuation, it’s the real deal,” Emergency Manager Travis Tompkins said. “I mean there’s no if ands or buts about it. You need to get out of there.”

Tompkins said it’s important to know your zone in case there is an evacuation order. He said when a hurricane is getting close, they focus on storm surge which is when strong winds push the Gulf water towards shore resulting in catastrophic flooding.

“The killer during hurricanes is storm surge,” Tompkins said. “So when we call for an evacuation it has nothing to do with the wind speeds.”

Residents are encouraged to stock up now with non-perishable food and bottled water that will last for a week. You should also have batteries, hygiene items, first aid kits, and be sure to put your important documents in waterproof containers.

“Shot records for your animals especially if you plan on evacuating to a shelter..that’s just as important as your other documents that we ask that you take care of,” Tompkins said.

You can find everything you need to prepare on the Be Ready section of the Escambia County website.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1st until November 30th.