Disaster Preparedness Tips for Renters
Disasters and emergencies may strike at any time. So, what do you do if you’re living on the 20th floor or your building loses power? Remember, emergency preparedness is not just a concern for homeowners — renters need to be prepared as well. Here are some rental-specific tips to help get you started.
1. Make an Emergency Kit
Do you have an emergency kit with some basic essentials in your apartment? If not, you may want to consider building one, says Ready.gov. Here are some ideas on what you may want to include in your kit:
- Battery-powered radio
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable food
- Drinking water
2. Create a Home Inventory
Do you have a list of everything you own in your apartment? And, do you know how much your belongings are worth and what it may potentially cost to replace them? Having a home inventory may help you document your belongings if they become damaged or ruined due to a natural disaster or fire. This may help you if you need to make an insurance claim in the future.
3. Know Your Evacuation Plan
Do you know the evacuation plan for your apartment building? Navigating through a large apartment complex can be tricky. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your building’s particular evacuation plan. These plans are generally posted in the common areas for residences and should map out your options for getting to safety.
If you do have to evacuate, be sure to leave your apartment quickly and calmly. Never take the elevator — always use the stairs (and know which doors lead to the outside), says Ready.gov. Plan for a variety of escape routes in case some are blocked in an emergency, says Ready.gov.
Remember that mandatory means mandatory. If the local authorities ask you to evacuate your apartment, you need to do so, says Ready.gov.
4. Meet Your Neighbors
Don’t wait until it’s too late to meet your neighbors. If you know your neighbors, you can help each other during an emergency, says the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) . You may want to also discuss an emergency meeting place in advance. If it’s too dangerous to meet outside the apartment building, you may want to designate a local spot within walking distance as the rendezvous point, says Ready.gov.
Prepping for disasters and emergencies may not be on the top of your to-do list, but it may help you be more prepared at a time when you’ll truly need to be.
Guest blogger Amber Heckler writes on behalf of ForRent.com, the Nation’s Leading Apartment Resource.
Originally published July 27, 2012.