Apartment Disaster Plan: Survival Kit Basics

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Having a survival kit in your apartment should be the cornerstone of your disaster plan in case of emergency. Whether facing an apartment fire, a tornado or a hurricane, your kit can help you stay alive.

How to Store Your Kit

Your survival kit should be stored in an easy-to-grab container, such as a plastic or metal bin with a handle. (Just be aware that, if you select metal, it may be too hot to grab during a fire.) You want it to be large enough to contain everything you’ll need in the kit, but you don’t want it to be so large that it’s difficult for you to carry around during an emergency. You must also think about size constraints, as you’ll be storing this kit in your apartment and don’t want it to get in the way most of the time.

Where to Store Your Kit

You’ll want to store your survival kit in a location that’s easy to access, but at the same time isn’t really in the way, since you won’t be using it most of the time. This could include a closet near the door, in a cupboard in the hallway or under a piece of large furniture, such as your bed or a nightstand.

You shouldn’t have to waste time digging it out, but at the same time, since you want to maximise the space in your apartment, you shouldn’t store your kit in the way or in space you could otherwise use. However, since you will rarely use your kit, it can be easy to forget about it and pile clutter on top or in front of it. Remember to always keep access to your kit clear of clutter.

What to Include in Your Kit

A properly stocked survival kit is the key to responding to an emergency quickly and well-prepared. In your kit, you should include:

A basic first-aid kit

  • Several bottles of water (total of about 1 gallon)
  • Three days’ worth of non-perishable food that needs no preparation, such as canned food and high-energy bars
  • Handheld can opener (if you include canned food)
  • Two or three flashlights or lanterns
  • Backup batteries for the flashlights or lanterns
  • A blanket
  • Two pillows (to cover yourself during a tornado)
  • Pocket hand warmers
  • Battery-operated handheld fan
  • Moist towelettes/baby wipes

Remember Kit Maintenance

Once you’ve prepared your kit, you shouldn’t just let it gather dust until if and when you need to use it. It’s important that just as you change the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year, you go through your kit at least twice a year and replace anything that’s expired or past its freshness date, such as food, water, medicine and batteries. You’ll save yourself from the frustration of having to eat stale or potentially hazardous food or having batteries that no longer work.

Preparing a survival kit before a potential emergency can help you remain calm and collected when disaster strikes. If you can easily grab for a kit, you won’t have to scramble around for supplies when it’s unsafe to do so.

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