No matter where you live, there’s always a chance of bad weather. It could be a severe thunder or snowstorm, or it could be something much bigger like a hurricane. Regardless of what kind of bad weather it is, there are a few basic steps you can take to prepare your apartment for it.
Build a Supply Kit
In almost any weather emergency, you’ll want to have a supply kit on hand with some basic supplies in it. You might have to go without utilities like power or running water, and that outage could last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have enough supplies to last you for at least 72 hours.
Your supply kit should be easy to find, well organized, and accessible. For example, a backpack, duffel bag, or any kind of suitcase can be used as a container and stored in your front hall closet for easy access. It’s important that everyone knows where the emergency supply kit is and that it’s inspected regularly.
Basic supplies you’ll want to add to your kit include water bottles, canned food and energy bars, battery-powered flashlights, a first aid kit, a can opener, blankets and heat packs, and your emergency contact information.
Establish a Plan
Having a well-established plan in place before there’s a bad weather emergency will make it a lot less stressful and safer to handle if something does happen. Your plan should clearly outline what to do and where to go in case of an emergency. It should also include your emergency contact information.
Know Your Apartment
Bad weather can bring all kinds of problems with it, which is why you should know your apartment and where everything is located in it, such as the water shutoff valve, the gas shutoff valve, and the circuit breakers. If something happens that might cause your pipes to burst, you’ll want to be able to turn off the water as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Winter storms can wreak havoc, leaving you without power or water for extended periods of time. It’s not uncommon for people who live in the northern hemisphere to experience severe ice storms or blizzards. If your power does go out, you’ll need to stay warm without relying on your furnace. If you don’t have any power to keep you warm, you’ll have to use something else. Keep blankets on hand during the winter months, and consider purchasing a non-electric space heater such as a kerosene or propane-powered model. To use one of these heaters safely, you’ll want to try it out before you find yourself in an emergency, when you’re likely to be stressed out and under a lot of pressure.
Track the Weather
A lot of places experience different kinds of bad weather, but there’s typically a time of year when it’s especially bad. The winter months, for example, often brings all kinds of storms. Be sure to follow the weather forecast regularly during these periods to give yourself enough time to prepare for any approaching storms.
Prepare the Outside
Although apartment dwellers typically have less outdoor preparation to do for bad weather than homeowners (this is typically your landlord’s responsibility), there are still some things they can and should do. For example, some of the biggest threats to the property are any nearby tree branches that might get knocked down. If you notice any dead branches or trees that are dangerously close to your apartment building, alert your landlord and see about getting them trimmed. Hopefully, the landlord also keeps the building’s gutters, pipes, and drains clean, but if not, don’t be afraid to mention it when bad weather is on its way.
Bring Outdoor Furniture Inside
If you have a patio, you likely have various pieces of outdoor furniture, potted plants, and decorations to attend to. Consider storing outdoor furniture inside during the winter or spouts of bad weather. It’s also a good idea to bring in any potted plants and decor items so they don’t end up being blown down the street, injuring someone, or damaging anything.
Cover Your Windows
A lot of people have storm windows installed to protect their regular windows from damage and cold weather. Plus, they protect the inside of your apartment. If your apartment windows don’t have storm windows over them, at least consider adding shutters. Windows can also be covered with plastic lining to keep cold air out. Check the sealing and weatherstripping around your windows to ensure that there aren’t any gaps where drafts might be getting in.
Keep Your Cell Phone Charged
Unfortunately, bad weather can knock the phone lines around and cut you off from the rest of the world. If there’s an emergency and you need to call 911 for assistance, you’ll have to use a cell phone instead of a landline. Most people have cell phones these days as it is, but if it’s not fully charged, and there’s no power source to plug it into, it won’t do you any good.
When you rent, it’s always a good idea to purchase renter’s insurance, as it’ll protect you from having to pay for damage that’s beyond your control. Most renter’s insurances will cover a multitude of things including fire, lightning, windstorms, smoke, ice, and even volcanic eruptions. Of course, it’s always a good idea to find out exactly what your particular insurance covers and consider what you will need.