Apartment Emergency Preparedness 101

Emergencies, by their very nature, are unexpected, and that’s why it’s so important to be prepared at all times. As a renter, there are certain things you can do to make sure you aren’t caught off guard the next time you’re hit by an unexpected crisis.

After all, no matter how many times the weather forecaster tells you a major storm is coming, don’t tell me you’re not still totally shocked when the power goes out– I know I am. Put emergency preparedness at the top of your to-do list by following the advice below. Trust me– you’ll be glad you did the next time there’s a crisis.

Put Together an Emergency Kit

First things first: You’ll need an emergency kit. This handy supply pack should always be fully stocked and stored in an area of your apartment that’s easy to access. So grab a plastic tub and fill it up:

  • Flashlight

  • Battery-powered radio

  • Extra batteries

  • First-aid kit

  • Pliers or wrench (to turn off utilities if necessary)

  • Can opener

  • Non-perishable food (at least a three-day supply)

  • Water jugs (enough for each person to drink one gallon every day for three days)

  • Whistle (to signal for help if you’re trapped in your apartment)

  • Dust masks (in case the air becomes contaminated)

  • Solar charger (for cellphones and other electronics)

  • Garbage bags

  • Moist towelettes or hand sanitizer

  • Local maps (in case your smartphone fails you)

You’ll be glad you have an emergency kit during a crisis– whether it be a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or flood. While the items above are absolutely necessary to have in your kit, you may also want to consider adding:

  • A change of clothes

  • Copies of important documents (e.g., passport, renter’s insurance)

  • Mylar thermal blankets

  • Extra food and water for your pet (if you have one)

  • Matches

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Personal hygiene items

  • Paper and pencil

Improve Your Emergency Preparedness

Now that you have an emergency kit put together, you can take some important additional steps to make sure you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

Inspect the Apartment: If you’re planning to move and have found the perfect apartment, make sure you thoroughly inspect it before signing the lease. Everyone knows to make sure there’s running water and that the major appliances work, but have you ever thought to check the doors and windows to make sure they’re in good condition? There should also be smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the apartment.

Buy Renter’s Insurance: Once you’ve signed on the dotted line and moved into your awesome new digs, protect yourself and your possessions by purchasing renter’s insurance. While your landlord is responsible for structural repairs (like a crack in the wall), they’re not responsible for your belongings. The monthly payments for renter’s insurance are relatively small (about $15-30), and if something happens to your laptop during an emergency, you’ll be glad you have it.

Meet Your Neighbors: If the power goes out and there’s an emergency, you’ll be really glad that you know your neighbors. After all, nothing brings people together like a crisis. Before you have to rely on the people living across the hall for matches or an extra can of food, host a friendly get-together for everyone in your building so you can all meet and mingle. This could also be a great opportunity to exchange emergency contact information.

Make a Plan: A huge component of emergency preparedness is making sure you have a plan in place. Note the location of two possible exits from your apartment (even if one is through a window), and walk through what you would do in the event of a crisis. Remember: Never use elevators during an emergency– there’s too great a risk of becoming trapped if the building loses power.

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Rent Editorial TeamAt Rent.com, our goal is to be the most efficient digital resource to help people find and live in a place they love. We strive to help renters make informed decisions by providing them with valuable information and advice, including money-saving tips, local guides, HD photos and certified ratings and reviews from actual residents.

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