An essential step in practicing apartment safety is preparation for natural disasters. If you live in an area that is susceptible to earthquakes, have a disaster plan ready so you can spring into action in the event of a quake. Part of that disaster plan should be to stock up on an earthquake emergency kit, which should include the following:
Water is essential for surviving a disaster and so it should be on the top of your apartment safety disaster kit list. You can live longer without food than you can live without water and the stress and chaos of a disaster can make you more thirsty. Water mains may be damaged during a quake, so even if your apartment is otherwise livable, you may be unable to access clean water. Besides drinking, you may also need clean water for washing, cooking, and flushing the toilet, if the toilet still works. Keep a stock of three gallons of water per person in your household and plan to use about one gallon per day per person.
2. Nonperishable Food
The second most important item in your apartment safety disaster kit should be nonperishable food. Try to pack about three days’ worth per person in the apartment. Pick nonperishable foods that are more likely to survive a quake due to their packaging, such as canned foods that require little to no preparation.
3. Hand-Operated Can Opener
If you’ve got food in cans, you’ll need to be able to open it. If you usually use an electronic can opener, you may be unable to access it following the earthquake. Include a hand-operated can opener in your disaster kit.
4. Flashlights and Lanterns
Another causality of an earthquake is likely to be the power lines. You may be able to stay in your apartment following a quake but could be unable to access power. Plus, immediately following the quake, you’ll need to be able to find your way around your apartment to check for damage. Pack several flashlights and/or handheld battery-operated lanterns in your apartment safety disaster kit.
5. Spare Batteries
Planning ahead and packing flashlights and lanterns is smart, but remember that batteries die over time, even when not in use. You don’t want to grab a flashlight in a disaster and find that it doesn’t work or that it lasts for less time than you need it, so pack spare batteries and swap them out for new ones at least twice a year.
6. Matches and Candles
As well as light, you may need warmth or fire for cooking following a disaster. Pack matches as well as candles in your disaster kit.
7. First Aid Kit
If you experience an injury following an earthquake, you’ll want to be able to treat the injury quickly before you’re able to be seen by a medical professional. A first aid kit will also allow you to prevent further injury and infection in minor injuries that don’t require professional attention.
Preparing to live off of your kit for three days following an earthquake is generally a good approach to designing your apartment safety disaster kit. In typical worst case scenarios, you may be trapped or otherwise unable to access food and water in the chaos following the disaster for a maximum of about three days.