The summer is fast approaching, and for those who live in areas where big storms are an issue, it’s time to get ready.
In fact, recent scientific data from multiple sources, including the NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, notes that the strongest hurricanes occurring in regions that include the North Atlantic have increased in intensity over the past few decades. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll make landfall, but that could be worrisome for renters living along the coast.
Apartment hurricane preps are essential for those of us living in multifamily communities, in particular, if you don’t live in a mandatory evacuation zone and plan on hunkering down when the big winds blow through. Hurricane season is no joke and the Boy Scout rule to be prepared most definitely applies.
Read on for a list of things to get done now, because June 1 will be here before you know it!
Download the apartment hurricane preparation checklist
Take a look at your windows, doors and breezeways. Is everything in good shape?
- Report to management anything that’s amiss, from loose siding to leaky windows. If panels or shutters are available for windows or glass sliders, get them installed.
- Don’t forget to bring in anything you might have on your patio or balcony, from furniture to plants to wind chimes. Secure them inside your outdoor storage closet if you have one or bring it all inside.
- Do you live on the top floor? Consider hunkering down with a neighbor downstairs, if possible.
After massive storms like Maria or Harvey, some residents in the storm’s path went without power and supplies for extended periods. According to the Washington Post, nearly 4,000 Houston-area homes were without power some three weeks after Hurricane Harvey ripped through in 2017 and there were more than 75 boil-water notices in effect.
Depending on the size of your apartment, it could be challenging, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends storing 10 days’ worth of supplies to ensure you’ll have enough if help doesn’t arrive immediately.
- Buy nonperishable items (canned soup, canned meat or fish, peanut butter, jelly, etc.) that will keep well. Following a serious storm, you may be without power. If you have limited kitchen space, store items under beds, in closets or wherever necessary.
- Buy lots of drinking water in gallon jugs or plastic bottles.
- Fill your bathtubs with tap water. This is used for flushing toilets and washing if your water supply is damaged or cut off by the storm.
Essential non-food items to have on hand
Ensure you have these necessities available and sealed in a watertight container or bag.
- Prescription medication
- Disposable eating utensils, plates, cups, etc., as well as trash bags
- Glasses or contact lens supplies
- Infant needs, such as formula, diapers, wipes and other supplies
- Pet food
- Feminine hygiene supplies
- Non-electronic games (cards, board games, coloring books, Play-Doh, crayons, etc.) for children
- Cash (ATMs may not be working or you may not be able to reach one)
- Important documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates and other forms of identification, as well as your insurance paperwork
First aid kit
If roads are flooded or impassable after the storm, you might not be able to reach a pharmacy if you need first aid. Prepare yourself for minor injuries with a fully-stocked first aid kit, including:
- Latex gloves
- Non-prescription medications, such as ibuprofen (kids’ versions, as well, if applicable)
- Bandages in various sizes
- Antibiotic ointments and disinfectants, such as hydrogen peroxide
If the power is out, you won’t be able to use many of the items around your apartment that you’ve gotten used to having a part of your everyday life. Make sure you have these essential supplies ready to go.
- Portable phone chargers (make sure they’re charged themselves!)
- Batteries in all sizes
- Matches or lanterns
- Manual can opener
- Battery-powered radio
- Whistle (to call for help if necessary)
- Tool box
Before the storm hits, make sure your renters insurance is up to date and covers things like wind and rain damage. You may need extra flood insurance to ensure coverage.
If you don’t have a garage or secure space in a parking structure, have a plan in place to get your vehicles to a safe area, where flooding or damage from flying debris are less likely.
Neighbors help one another in emergencies. If you don’t know yours, now is the time to reach out.
- Exchange contact information so you can reach out in the storm’s wake to see if anyone needs assistance, or to ask for help yourself
- Assign “captains” who can be responsible for a particular area, floor or building, who will check on residents, in particular, any who have special needs
- Make a communication plan in the event of power and cell-coverage outages