If you only had 30 minutes to evacuate your apartment, what would you take? Your computer? Your birth certificate? Your grandmother’s ring? Having to evacuate your home quickly is stressful enough, let alone having to decide what belongings to grab in a short amount of time.
No possession is worth endangering yourself or others. Make sure that you, your loved ones and pets are getting out of your apartment safely before you start gathering belongings, says Ready.gov.
Assuming you can have time to take a few things with you, here are three things to consider adding to your apartment evacuation checklist.
In my experience, it’s a good idea to take items you usually always have with you, such as your purse or wallet (including credit cards or cash to help pay for expenses while you’re away), cell phone, eyeglasses and keys. It may help to consistently store these items in one common place so it is easy to find them in an emergency. You’ll also need at least three days worth of clothes, some toiletries and a first aid kit with any prescription medication you must take regularly, says Ready.gov.
Keep all your important documents in one place where you can easily grab them. Storing papers, such as your birth certificate, passport, Social Security card, car title and insurance policies, in a file or small safe may make it easier for you to take them with you quickly.
Be proactive: Before an emergency happens, you may want to take photos or videos of your apartment and belongings to help document what you own. Save the photos and videos on a flash drive you can take with you or store them on the cloud so you have access to them in case you’re unable to return to your apartment. Being able to help show what you owned before a disaster may help you account for items if you do need to file a claim in the future.
Whether an item has financial or sentimental value, you probably consider certain items to be the most valuable — such as irreplaceable family photos or heirloom jewelry. Thinking about what matters most to you can help you be prepared. It may also prompt you to re-evaluate where you keep these items, as a stressful event, such as an evacuation, is not a good time to start searching for cherished items.
You may want to consider making an evacuation checklist and post it in a prominent spot such as your refrigerator to help you remember what to take and help you get out of your home quickly. Taking the time to plan ahead and know what you need to take in case of an evacuation now may help you better cope in the future.