MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Atlantic Ocean is becoming more active, and state emergency management officials are urging Alabamians to be prepared in case one of those systems heads our way.

It’s been two years since Hurricane Sally and 18 since Ivan hit the Gulf Coast. Orange Beach City Administrator Ken Grimes has seen it all.

“I’ve redone my house twice, so I’m on version three of my same house. So we’re quite familiar with recovery,” Grimes said.

Grimes says while it’s been a quiet start to hurricane season so far, which runs through Nov. 30, that’s no reason to be unprepared.

“The reality is, it’s not if but when,” Grimes said.

He says even in a category one storm, your best move is to evacuate. If not, be ready for at least three days without power, food, or water. He says to pack a kit with nonperishable goods, water jugs, flashlights, batteries, medicine, and whatever else is essential for your family.

Grant Brown with the City of Gulf Shores is also no stranger to these storms.

“I actually rode through Sally at my house, and I don’t really ever want to ride through another hurricane again, and that was just a strong category two,” Brown said.

Brown emphasizes the importance of evacuating and also says be sure to bring inside any propane tanks or deck furniture that could damage others in high winds.

“Make sure that you’re doing your part to protect not only your property but your surrounding neighbors as well,” Brown said.

Greg Robinson with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency says a final piece of advice you may not always hear: Know your neighbors.

“More than likely when the rain stops or the wind stops, the first person you will see that will have an opportunity to offer help is your neighbor. If I’m prepared and my neighbor is prepared, then that gives us an opportunity to go out and help other folks,” Robinson said.

Officials say in addition to making a plan with family in case a storm hits, pay attention to your local meteorologists for the latest information in your area.