Time and again, hurricanes find their way on land and wreak havoc on millions living in coastal states and regions during hurricane season (June-November). The high winds, thrashing rain, storm surges, and flooding cause very real risks, and the aftermath can be just as rough as the storm itself.
Renters living in apartments need to have a plan in place in case a hurricane strikes. It would be in your best interest to evacuate if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, but if you do stay behind, you need to be fully prepared for the day the storm hits. Here’s a checklist of what you can do:
__ Create, memorize, and rehearse the evacuation plan.
Perhaps the news had the storm recorded as a tropical depression, but now has progressed into a Category 2 hurricane. Huddled in a cone of uncertainty, having hoped the storm would pivot back into the ocean, what do you do now?
Having an evacuation route in place prior to the storm will help everyone leave the apartment as safely and calmly as possible. Make sure that everyone knows the plan like the back of their hand, and that you have established an alternative exit or route in case of flooding or blockage. Familiarize yourself and others with the building’s layout and exits, and where they lead to. Make sure your car has plenty of gas to get you to a safe location.
__ Bring all outdoor furniture and accessories inside.
Make sure this is done prior to the storm making landfall. Winds can pick up days before the storm hits, and somersaulting patio chairs or an airborne potted-rose bush can seriously injure someone or damage something in its way. Be sure to check your patio or balcony, windows, and front entry for potential wind-borne items. Remember, hurricane winds can reach triple digits.
__ Stock up on a 7-day supply of food and water.
Depending on the size of your apartment, storage may be hard to come by – but you’ll need to make space for your food and water supply. If you have a small kitchen, try storing your bottled water and non-perishables in a closet or under the bed. Fill your bathtubs with water for sanitation or bathing purposes in case of a water line break.
__ Assemble your kits. All of them.
Having your kits preassembled days in advance will help out immensely as you prepare for the storm ahead. There are many kits to consider keeping in your apartment:
- First-Aid and Medicine Kit: Fill this kit with your first-aid essentials, like bandages and hydrogen peroxide, along with any prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines you think you might need.
- Work Tools & Supplies Kit: This kit should include anything you might need for an emergency shut-off situation or meals. A wrench, pliers, heavy-duty flashlight with additional batteries, battery-powered radio, disposable plates and utensils, and garbage bags are just a few thoughts.
- Clothing, Bedding, & Toiletry Kit: Your family kit should include clothing and undergarments, toilet paper, sleeping bags or sheets, and disinfectant or soap.
- Specialty Kit: These kits would include anything needed specific for a baby, elderly person, or pets in the home.
__ Keep important documents dry and secured.
You don’t want to lose any important documents because they got wet from the storm. Official citizenship or identification references, bank account numbers, family medical records, and insurance papers should be kept in a safe inside a waterproof bag or container.
__ Seek shelter in a window-less room.
This is by far the most important on the day of the hurricane. During storms, pummeling rain and strong winds can send glass flying from windows and doors. So you’re not hit by shrapnel, seek shelter in a room with no windows or glass doors, such as a closet or laundry room.
Prepping for hurricanes and disaster relief is no easy task. When you live in an area susceptible to these types of storms, it’s best to be ready so you can protect your apartment home and family. If your belongings do sustain damage from the storm, you’ll need to file a claim with your renters insurance agency.