Apartment Safety: Fall Prevention

For seniors aged 65 and older, falls are the top cause of death due to injury. Falling is also the number one cause of non-fatal injuries in this age group, which can often translate into a threat to independence, as well as overall mobility and safety.

One in four seniors falls at least once every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and one out of five falls among seniors results in a serious injury, such as head injuries, broken bones or internal bleeding.

This is why it’s important to do everything possible to minimize the risk of falling for seniors living in apartments on their own.

Injuries and risks of falls

injured senior after a fallinjured senior after a fall

Falls can be extremely dangerous to anyone, but senior adults are particularly vulnerable. Men are more likely to die as a result of a fall, while women have a greater risk of being seriously injured.

Some of the most common injuries seniors experience as a result of falls are hip fractures, hip lacerations and head trauma. Other injuries that often occur as a result of falls include fractures of the spine, legs, ankles, pelvis, arms and hands.

There are several reasons why seniors are at a particularly high risk of falling. As we age, difficulty with balance and walking can create more risk. The body’s balancing capability and lower-body strength begin to weaken, and illnesses like Parkinson’s disease can also contribute to an increased fall risk. Those with osteoporosis are especially vulnerable to bone fractures since this disease thins and weakens the bones.

How to handle a fall

If you or a loved one has fallen, the first thing to remember is not to panic. Using a medical alert device is highly recommended, as it will allow you to easily alert the authorities to send medical assistance.

If you’re unable to get up after a fall, don’t force yourself to get up. This can cause further injury. If you feel that you might be able to get up, slowly roll over to one side and pull yourself up onto your hands and knees. Use a sturdy piece of furniture or another nearby object for support, and try to get into a seated position.

Stay seated until you’re medically treated or until you’re positive you’ll be able to stand up without falling again. Always consult your doctor after a fall so they can assess you for any injuries.

Preventing falls in your apartment

hand rail in apartmenthand rail in apartment

Make sure you have good lighting both inside and outside the apartment so you can clearly see walkways, entryways and hallways. Create a clear path inside your apartment, moving any furniture out of the way.

Tape your rugs down with double-sided tape on hardwood or vinyl floors so that you won’t trip over them and the rugs won’t slip out of place. Keep all cords and plugs close to the wall, and tie them together so they don’t get in the way of where you need to walk.

If you’re able to install one, consider adding a walk-in tub to the bathroom to help you easily get in and out of the bath. (Be sure to ask your landlord before making any major modifications to your apartment.) Install or check handrails on the stairs and in the bathroom, ensuring that they are all securely attached.

Fix any loose or uneven steps, and ask your landlord if they can come to take a look to ensure that all interior and exterior steps are secure. Keep all of your cooking items easily within reach in the kitchen. If you absolutely must use a step stool, make sure it’s completely stable before you use it.

Use night lights in the bedroom and hallway and throughout your apartment to help you get around safely during the evening.

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Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Holiday Dinner

The year has flown by, and somehow we’ve already stored our skeletons and pumpkins, and we’re ready for Thanksgiving. Time to order those stretchy pants as you bring together family and friends over one table.

But with every large event, there are safety issues that occur as you cook a big feast in your kitchen.

Did you know Thanksgiving is the No. 1 day for home cooking fires in the country, followed by Christmas? Yes, that’s more than three times as many as a regular day. Unattended cooking is the culprit for the rise in kitchen fires.

Sure, smart stove apps can help keep an eye on things and alert you, but not everyone has those on hand.

If you’re thinking of hosting this year, read on for Thanksgiving safety tips for this holiday season.

Before dinner

turkey in the oventurkey in the oven

Preparing a large feast for your family and friends isn’t an easy feat, but it can be enjoyed with some pre-planning to save money and time. Check your smoke detectors, switch out the batteries if needed and make your grocery list.

1. Turkey safety

Timing is everything when purchasing the best turkey and the ingredients for all of your sides. If you’re buying a fresh turkey, wait until two days before Thanksgiving. We know it’s not ideal for your busy schedule, but this helps keep it fresh for your meal.

Move your frozen turkey to the refrigerator prior to the big day. The general rule of thumb is to give it about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw it completely. Place a tray under it to catch any juices and never let the turkey thaw out on the kitchen counter — frozen meat can start to grow bacteria after only two hours outside.

2. At the grocery

Start filling your shopping cart with grocery shelf items before reaching for the refrigerated perishables and frozen foods. After you’ve picked out your groceries, make sure to come straight home to make sure nothing thaws out.

As you go down your grocery list, keep all of your guests’ dietary restrictions in mind. For example, pre-basted or self-basting turkeys often contain soy, wheat or dairy, so be sure to read the labels.

3. Keep an eye for cross-contamination

Use different utensils and cutting boards when preparing meat and produce and thoroughly wash them between each use. We know it’s an extra step, but it keeps all bacteria off your prep area. Skip rinsing the turkey — it’s not necessary.

Be sure to keep the meat thermometer out to check that the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 164 degrees Fahrenheit. With a different thermometer, check that all hot side items reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

4. Don’t forget about the stove

With everyone catching up about this year’s work and life milestones, you can quickly get distracted and walk away from the kitchen. A fire can start in the blink of an eye.

Set a timer on your home assistant like the Amazon Echo, your smartphone or walk away with a potholder. Any of these will jolt you right out of conversation and back to the kitchen.

5. Set the table

So, it’s time to dig in — do you set up the table with name tags and formal place settings or a casual buffet? We think both a formal table and buffet are good options.

If you have room for a buffet, make sure that you set out the cold food first, so it’s the right temperature when the guests grab it. Also, set up sauces and gravy near their corresponding dishes for easy access.

If you have a formal setup, designate your turkey carver and set all sides on easy to grab platters with serving spoons.

While you eat

turkey being served on thanksgivingturkey being served on thanksgiving

First things first — as you start plating sides for the table and putting the turkey on a platter, make sure that you check every stove burner and the oven. Turn everything off.

Move all things away from the burners to make sure nothing catches on fire, and check that the oven is empty. Don’t leave anything still cooking, simmering or boiling.

After the feast

Leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving. But every year, one in six people get sick from contaminated food. Bacteria grow fast. But if you don’t want your Thanksgiving feast to become the infamous story told again and again at parties, make sure to keep an eye on your food preparation and storage.

As people start to slow down over their meals, start wrapping all leftovers, taking them to the kitchen and placing them in the refrigerator. While a few of you clean, have someone in your family be in charge of entertaining the kids so everything will go faster.

Avoid storing the stuffing inside the turkey. They should remain separate. No food should stay out for more than two hours. Skip any leftovers on plates touched by your guests.

Once everyone is headed home, pack up the leftovers in small, shallow containers. Let them know to refrigerate them as soon as they get back. Store the turkey in the freezer.

You have up to four days to make all the turkey sandwiches and fried mashed potatoes you want, then you have to toss them.

turkey safety infographicturkey safety infographic

Source: Fightbac.org

Enjoy your Thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving kicks off the ever-tiring holiday season, but with good food and people to surround you, you’ll have a good time. Cook everything at the right temperature, keep your kitchen clean, be careful when handling produce and store leftovers within two hours.

Don’t miss a good meal due to a dangerous kitchen fire. Stay safe in the kitchen this coming season.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

7 Back to School Safety Tips for the Whole Family

As the summer heat begins to fade, children are enjoying their final days of free play and parents are preparing to send the kiddos off to school. As the new school year approaches, it’s important to prepare your family for back to school safety.

Apartment dwellers with school-aged children can help prevent accidents by teaching and adhering to these safety tips.

1. Drive with extreme caution

kids walking to schoolkids walking to school

When school starts again, more children will be on the roads in the morning and afternoon hours. It’s always important to be focused when driving, but during the school season, it’s especially important to be alert and aware of your surroundings.

Small children will be on the roads and you may not see them in your blind spots. Recognize those children on the road, err on the side of caution and don’t assume kids see your car and know your intentions. It’s best to drive slowly and cautiously to keep kids safe.

2. Adhere to school zone lights

school zoneschool zone

In designated school zones, you’ll see the yellow flashing lights signaling for drivers to slow to 20 mph. Any time you see the school zone lights on, you must slow down to ensure the safety of children walking to school.

Children may not be observing traffic, and it’s up to the adults to follow school zone speeds to help keep kids safe. Even if you don’t see children in the school zone, it’s better to play it safe to ensure back-to-school safety.

3. Stop behind the school bus

cars behind school buscars behind school bus

School buses are one of the main modes of transportation for kids. When the stop sign is activated on a school bus, never try and pass the bus on either side.

Children will be exiting the school bus and crossing the street. Passing a school bus when the stop sign is on is not only dangerous, it’s illegal.

4. Follow the school’s pick up and drop off policy

dropping off at schooldropping off at school

Each school will have a different system in place to help parents safely pick up and drop off their children.

Before the school year starts, talk to your school and get a thorough understanding of the policy. This will help protect your child and other children during pick up and drop off times of the day.

5. Teach your kids how they’ll get to and from school

kids on bikekids on bike

Not all kids are driven to school, so there are some rules to teach your children about walking and biking to school safely. First, you’ll want to ensure they know how to get to school from your apartment. Second, you’ll want to make sure they know which direction to walk back, which building they live in, what apartment number and floor level.

Apartment complexes can be vast and buildings can look similar to a child. To keep them safe, make sure they know how to get to and from school on their own. Also, if they’re walking to school without parental supervision, you may want to consider a GPS tracker for kids. This will loop you in on their whereabouts so you can confirm that they got to school safely each day.

In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, practice walking, biking or scootering to school so you can teach your kids the safest route to take, how to use the sidewalk and crosswalks and where to park their bikes or scooters when they get to school.

If your children will be biking or scootering to school, teach them to always wear a helmet. Once they get to school, ask the principal where the kids should park their bikes or scooters during the day and when and where they can pick them up after school.

6. Stop, look and listen

crossing guardcrossing guard

This may be the most fundamental back to school safety lesson you teach your children. As simple as it is, it’s one of the most important lessons a child can learn. Anytime they’re about to cross a street, make sure they follow the three-step plan:

  1. Stop at the end of the sidewalk
  2. Look both ways to make sure there are no cars coming from either direction.
  3. Listen for cars even if you cannot see them.

7. Teach school bus etiquette

kids getting on school buskids getting on school bus

As the school season kicks off, kids are excited to ride the school bus with their friends. While this is a fun time of life for children, it’s important they know the proper school bus etiquette and rules to promote back to school safety.

Before they start school, walk with your children to the bus stop so they know the safest route. Next, let them know that they need to stay on the curb until the school bus pulls over. When the doors open, the school bus driver will tell the kids when it’s safe to hop on board.

Teach your kids that they should never run to the school, but that the school bus will pull over for them and let them know when it’s safe to get on. When they get off the bus, let them know that they need to always look both ways before crossing the street.

Better safe than sorry

The beginning of the school year is often an exciting and, sometimes, scary time. Ease some of the nerves by teaching your children what’s expected of them and what could happen if they don’t follow the rules.

And you should follow these guidelines to promote back to school safety in your apartment complex, neighborhood and community. Remember to share the road and keep your eyes open for kids once the school season begins.

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22 Emergency Phone Numbers You Should Know (Printable)

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to the security of yourself and the ones you love. A quick call to animal poison control can save your pet. Having a plumber’s number nearby can help prevent any flooding if you have a pipe leak. Being prepared with emergency phone numbers on hand in an urgent situation can make all the difference.

How to set up emergency phone numbers on your cell

While it’s important to have these numbers next to your home phone, these days many people use their cell phone as the main phone line. Luckily, smartphones allow you to create a medical ID or In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact with your health information and emergency contact of choice.

Set up emergency contact on an iPhone

The iPhone has a Medical ID option that will inform others of your medical history and emergency contact information.

  1. Go to the health app on your phone
  2. Select Medical ID
  3. Edit so that it provides any medical and emergency contact information
  4. Select the option to show when your screen is locked

person adding emergency contact to phoneperson adding emergency contact to phone

Set up emergency contact on an Android

Androids also have a built-in emergency contact information option.

  1. Go to your settings and search “Emergency information”
  2. Select the option to edit and enter your emergency contact information

Set up ICE info on any smartphone

Another way to make your In Case of Emergency number accessible is by making it your lock screen background.

  1. Go to the notes section of your phone
  2. Write down your emergency numbers
  3. Screenshot the note and save it as your screensaver

Label contacts

Lastly, if you don’t have a smartphone that has these capabilities, be sure you are labeling contacts correctly. Create a contact named “ICE” and put in your emergency contact’s info. It’s also helpful to label your contacts with their relation to your. For example, use the contact name, “my husband” or “my wife.” This way, if you are in an emergency situation and someone finds your phone, they will know who they are calling.

22 emergency phone numbers to have handy

The following are 22 emergency phone numbers you should know. Read through and then print out our list to fill with your local numbers and keep next to your home phone.

911 symbol911 symbol

1. 911

This is a number that most people should know by heart. Dial 911 if you or someone near you is having a life-threatening emergency. If you are using a North American phone, this number will connect you with help. Dialing 911 in a non-emergency situation is illegal.

Some situations when you’d want to call 911 include:

  • Crimes in progress
  • Life-threatening situations
  • Fires (boat, canyon, rubbish, structures)
  • Traffic accidents
  • Hazardous chemical spills
  • Fire/smoke detector or carbon monoxide alarms that are sounding
  • Explosive devices
  • Elevator rescues
  • Fuel spills
  • Smoke in the building
  • Aircraft emergencies
  • Cliff rescues
  • Beach or water-related emergency

112 phone symbol112 phone symbol

2. 112

An alternative to 911, 112 is also an emergency telephone number, but it’s primarily used in Europe. If used in the United States, most phone providers will forward you to 911.

symbol that shows police departmentsymbol that shows police department

3. Local police department

Are you having a non-emergency situation that still requires police intervention? In this case, you’ll want to have your local police department number available. This number will get you in contact with officers that are on duty in your area.

symbol that shows hospitalsymbol that shows hospital

4. Hospital

In addition to listing the number and address of your primary hospital, you’ll want to take note of a few others in the area. It may be helpful to note their distance from your home. Knowing this information can save time in the event that you need to take a trip to the hospital.

graphic for a doctorgraphic for a doctor

5. Family doctor

Not all medical issues require calling 911 or visiting the hospital. In the event that you need a personal consultation, it will be helpful to have your primary care doctor’s contact information available.

symbol of poison controlsymbol of poison control

6. Poison control

There are different poison control numbers based on your region. Be sure to have your local poison control number available in the case of an emergency. To reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, call their helpline at 1-800-222-1222. To add poison control as a contact in your phone, text POISON to 7979797.

symbol of animal poison controlsymbol of animal poison control

7. Animal poison control

Pets are prone to getting into food and objects that are not meant for them to consume. If you think your furry family member may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, you can contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

symbol for veterinariansymbol for veterinarian

8. Veterinarian

Add your regular vet to your list of emergency phone numbers to keep close by. Your veterinarian office will typically provide you with an emergency number if your pet is in trouble after its regular office hours.

symbol for local fire departmentsymbol for local fire department

9. Local fire department

If you are having a fire, you should call 911 and they will inform the local fire station. For more general fire safety information such as involvement in your local CERT program or burn day schedules, it can be helpful to have your local fire department’s number.

symbol for watersymbol for water

10. Water company

When a water line has malfunctioned or a natural disaster has compromised the cleanliness of your water, the local water company can help.

symbol for electricitysymbol for electricity

11. Power company

If you are left in the dark, you’ll want to be able to contact the power company. In addition, it’s important to have this number available to report any downed power lines you come across.

symbol for animal controlsymbol for animal control

12. Animal control

For any animal-related emergencies, you’ll want to have the local animal control number. Situations may include an injured or sick animal, animal cruelty or aggressive animal.

symbol for next-door neighborssymbol for next-door neighbors

13. Next-door neighbors

Knowing your neighbors can be helpful in times of emergency. Meet your neighbors and exchange numbers so that you can contact them if needed. Add the numbers to your phone as well as writing them down near your landline.

symbol for tow trucksymbol for tow truck

14. Tow truck

Being prepared for anything includes having a tow truck or your local body shop’s number accessible. If you have roadside assistance such as AAA, this number would be worth writing down as well. Whether your car won’t start in the morning or you get in an accident, these numbers will be of help.

symbol for insurancesymbol for insurance

15. Insurance agent

An insurance agent refers to any person you may need to get in contact with to file a claim in the event of an accident. This could include agents for home insurance, renters insurance or car insurance.

symbol for bosssymbol for boss

16. Boss

In the event of an emergency, you may not make it into work. If this is the case, you’ll want your boss to know the circumstances so that your job isn’t in jeopardy.

symbol for coworkerssymbol for coworkers

17. Co-workers

Similar to your boss, it could be helpful to have the numbers of co-workers. If you do have an emergency or need to take a sick day, you can let them know about any outstanding work that needs to be completed.

grpahic of a grad capgrpahic of a grad cap

18. School or daycare

Another important contact number to have available is your children’s school or daycare. In an emergency situation, something may prevent you from picking them up on time. In this case, you’ll want to call and tell them you’ll be late or someone else will be coming to pick them up.

symbol for locksmithsymbol for locksmith

19. Locksmith

Whether you’ve been locked out of the house or need to switch out the locks after a burglary, this time-sensitive issue will usually require a locksmith. Find a reliable locksmith in your area and write down their number so you don’t need to do the research in a rush later on.

symbol for coast guardsymbol for coast guard

20. Coast Guard

If you are on the shoreline of a major lake or river it can be helpful to have the Coast Guard phone number available.

symbol for local EMSsymbol for local EMS

21. Local EMS

In some areas, the local emergency medical services (EMS) or ambulance are separate from the fire department and police department. Find out if this is the case in your town and if so, take note of a number where you can reach them.

symbol for wildlifesymbol for wildlife

22. State Division of Wildlife

If you live in a rural location, your State Division of Wildlife number could be helpful to know. This department can help you report any predators on your property such as bears or coyotes.

Emergency contact number printable

Print this list out and keep it visible by your home phone in case of an emergency. Having an extra in your car can also be useful. If you’re visiting somewhere new on vacation, looking up these numbers may be important.

photo of an emergency contact listphoto of an emergency contact listbutton to download emergency number contact listbutton to download emergency number contact list

Keep yourself and your home safe by having these emergency phone numbers easily accessible. No matter the situation, you’ll be prepared to call for help.

Sources:

WUSA9 | HuffPost

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Source: apartmentguide.com

What is Controlled Access?

Keep unwanted guests from getting in.

Controlled access at an apartment allows only certain people — usually residents — to enter the building. This may be done through keys, key cards, access codes and building staff.

Controlled access is sometimes confused with gated access. Controlled access regulates who gets into the actual building, or even a wing of the building. Gated access only requires people to be let in through a gate and once they’ve entered the premises, they can access almost anything within.

Things to consider before moving into a controlled-access apartment

The purpose of controlled access is to keep unwanted visitors out of an apartment building. This generally provides a safer, quieter, more private living environment as you need to either be a tenant or know someone living in the building to get in. It makes it more difficult for a random person to walk in off the street and wander the halls of your building.

It isn’t cheap to maintain a security system, whether it be by key card, access code or building staff, so a controlled-access apartment can cost more. There are often strict rules for having visitors check in, sometimes including special visiting hours, and it can become a hassle for both you and your guests in some situations.

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Pros of controlled access

  • Safer
  • More privacy
  • Quieter atmosphere

Cons of controlled access

  • Always have to buzz in friends
  • Hassle if you forget your keys

Is controlled access a want or a need?

Before choosing a controlled-access apartment, you may want to consider how safe your neighborhood is. In some cases, controlled access is simply a want and in other cases, it may be more of a necessity. In any case, controlled access provides an extra measure of security and can give you more peace of mind.

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How to Stay Safe When Returning After a Wildfire

Wildfires are unpredictable, evoke fear and chaos, and can cause severe damage to people, animals, property and land. Most people think of wildfires only occurring in California, but they are common in a handful of states in the western and southern U.S.

After a wildfire has been contained and the authorities have announced that residents are safe to head home, people can feel anxious about the unknown damage that was caused and their continued safety.

When returning home, you’ll want to consider these wildfire safety tips to ensure the continued safety and security of your family and apartment.

1. Wait until local authorities have officially cleared the area

police at wildfirepolice at wildfire

If the wildfire has been contained or entirely put out, it can be tempting to immediately rush home and start assessing the damage. However, wildfire damage lingers and can cause additional problems like flooding or secondary fires.

So, to ensure wildfire safety, do not return home until safety officials have given the “all clear.”

2. Use caution when entering your home after a fire

Obvious signs of wildfires, like flames, may be gone when you return home, but that doesn’t mean the danger is gone, too. When you enter your home, use extreme caution. Watch for charred or burned doorways and entryways and make sure that the building’s infrastructure is still secure.

3. Wear appropriate clothing

When you return after a wildfire, you’ll want to dress appropriately to avoid burns and bodily damage. Wear long pants, boots with thick rubber soles, gloves and dust masks.

4. Look for loose power lines or broken gas lines

downed power linesdowned power lines

Wildfires can cause damage to gas and power lines, and if you see a loose power line, gas line or meter, and circuit breaker, do not try and fix it on your own and do not go near it.

If they’re broken or damaged, call the utility company. They’re the best resource to safely fix damaged utilities.

5. Smell for gas

After you’ve looked for loose gas lines, you’ll also want to smell for gas when you return home. If you smell gas, turn off the supply tank and valve and immediately contact your local utility provider. Do not enter your place if you smell gas.

6. Check for pockets of heat inside and outside

Assess the grounds around your apartment building and inside your apartment for pockets of heat. The ground may still be hot, even after the flames have dissipated. These hot pockets can burn the paws of animals, harm people and even spark new fires.

As you walk around your property and assess the damage, also look for loose embers or active sparks. Check outside the building and inside in closets, roofs, and attics.

7. Eat and drink safely when returning home

Wildfires can knock out power for several days, so when you return home, get rid of any perishable food from the freezer and fridge so you don’t get sick. You’ll also want to watch for notices of when it’s safe to drink the water because water can be contaminated during a wildfire.

8. Document property damage and conduct a thorough inventory for insurance

looking at property damagelooking at property damage

Once you’ve safely checked the perimeter and apartment building, you’ll want to take photos of everything that was damaged during the fire. Keep a record and list of all items that were destroyed or damaged.

Don’t throw anything away until you’ve talked to your insurance company. Different companies will have different policies and you’ll want to make sure you follow their guidelines to ensure maximum return. It’s smart to have images, videos and lists before a fire, too, so you can prove to insurance companies what was damaged before and after a fire.

9. Clean your apartment

Lastly, you’ll want to start washing all items and cleaning the apartment after you’ve worked with your insurance company. After a wildfire, there will be mounds of debris and ash.

Wet the debris to cool it and get rid of any remaining sparks, and follow the designated procedure as outlined by your community to get rid of the ash. Rinse ash and debris off toys and household items, vacuum the floors with an approved filter and wipe down your floors, baseboards and counters.

Be prepared

wildfire in the distancewildfire in the distance

In 2019 alone, there have been more than 16,000 wildfires, and each year, more than 100,000 wildfires burn through U.S. lands. To stay safe and be prepared for future disasters, here are five wildfire safety tips.

  • Listen for warnings and leave when told: Because wildfires spread rapidly, it’s important to stay on constant alert if a wildfire has started in your neighborhood. When fire authorities or local officials tell residents to evacuate, it’s crucial to heed their warnings, leave immediately and head to a safe zone.
  • Stay tuned for emergency alerts and updates: Depending on the wildfire, some can be contained quickly while others are out of control for days at a time. If your area is under threat, tune in to the NOAA radio and local news for live updates.
  • Create an emergency action plan: It’s not the time to make an emergency plan when disaster strikes. Instead, sit down with your family ahead of time and discuss a communication action plan for future wildfires or other natural disasters. Because phone lines will likely be busy, consider using text or social media to communicate with your family. Discuss where you’ll meet, how you’ll get there and how you’ll notify others that you’re safe.
  • Conduct an apartment safety check: While wildfires are unpredictable, renters can check their apartment and work with their property manager to ensure the apartment complex and buildings are safe and up-to-date. Make sure you’re routinely checking fire alarms and extinguishers as a safeguard.
  • Have an emergency kit: If a wildfire occurs in your community, you’ll want to have an emergency kit on hand. These kits should include water, food, dust masks and first-aid essentials. Apartment dwellers should also consider purchasing a fire escape ladder in case of an evacuation.

When returning home after a wildfire, follow these safety procedures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and mitigate damages as easily as possible.

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How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Apartment

Got mice?

If these pesky pests are in your apartment, we’ve got solutions. While it makes good sense to keep them out in the first place, we get it, stuff happens. The number one thing you should do is speak to your leasing office maintenance crew or landlord. Let them know you need pest control right away! Hopefully they will send in a professional company to rid you of the problem.

But you can also be proactive and takes steps to oust the intruders. You should know that mice live in groups. So, when you see one mouse, you probably have five, six or more squatters.

That’s a problem because mice can contaminate food and food preparation surfaces, which can lead to potential health issues.

Leave pesticides to the professionals

You might think that pesticides are the way to go to get rid of mice. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that’s only a good idea if you’re a pro. This is not a DIY project.

Improper use of pesticides could be toxic to both people and pets, and people with compromised immune systems can be especially vulnerable to improper use of pesticides.

Here’s what you can do to rid your home of furry unwanted irritants scurrying across the floor and more.

1. Use traps

If you’re not squeamish interacting with a dead mouse, then try the old-school method. Terminix recommends baiting the trap with peanut butter, bacon, chocolate, dried fruit or oatmeal. Another option is a glue trap.

Or, you can try something more modern. There are actually traps that use high voltage to shock the mouse. It might sound cruel, but since it happens quickly, there’s no suffering. How does it work? The bait station is in the back of the unit. The mouse enters the trap and triggers a sensor. That’s when a high voltage electric current electrocutes the mouse in seconds.

Alternatively, catch-and-release traps are a humane option. When you trap a mouse, you can release it far from where you live.

2. Seal-off floor and wall gaps

mouse holemouse hole

If you see an opening where wires and conduits are in your apartment, those could be road maps for vermin. Mice can enter a building or home through the smallest opening or crack.

Plug up even the tiniest holes, even the ones the size of a nickel! Mice commonly move through walls, ceilings, floors and even cabinets.

3. Your in-house mouser superheroes

The furry pet you want in your house just might solve your mouse problem. If they’re up for it. Your cat is your live-in pest control agent. Some dogs can take on the task of de-mousing with vigor, too.

Mice love pet food. So, if you leave it out for your pet, that’s likely where your cat or dog will find the pest, nibbling away on his or her food.

4. All-natural repellents

Here’s a natural way to repel the critters as a preventive measure from the start. There are various mice repellents on the market that contain no chemicals and are also pet-friendly.

Ingredients matter, so look for the ones that have peppermint essential oil or balsam fir oil. These specific fragrances cause mice to find the closest exit. Humane and effective, you can find this option as a spray repellent or in sachet or pouch form.

5. Keep food sealed in the pantry

sealed foodsealed food

Mice are in search of food. If you have a mouse problem, be sure that your food is safely sealed. Keep it out of the sight or smell of any mouse traipsing through your house. This means investing in airtight food canisters.

If there’s a package that’s ripped or open, remember that annoying mice can squeeze into even the tiniest opening in a bag or box of food.

Don’t do it all yourself

To help keep mice out of your apartment, have a list of what needs to be done to have a mouse-free home. The EPA recommends that you check your plumbing. Cover gaps and seals around sills, sewer lines and other spots they could squeeze into.

Ask the maintenance team in your apartment complex to do the hard stuff. This includes using caulk, knitted copper mesh, steel wool or foam insulation to block access around pipe openings.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Does Renters Insurance Cover Storm Damage?

Your apartment comes with precautions like smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and alarm systems. But what about extreme weather events and natural disasters?

Your landlord’s insurance may only cover the building structure. But you’ve done your due diligence and signed up for renters insurance, insurance coverage that protects you and your belongings inside your rental.

But depending on the natural disaster, your policy could not be exhaustive enough and provide you with enough coverage. Sure, a tornado may be included, but not a big flood or landslide.

According to esurance, the average renter owns about $20,000 in personal property. That’s a lot of valuables, many of which are unable to be replaced.

Learn more about what kind of storm damage renters insurance covers — and what it doesn’t — and how to make sure you’re covered. If you’re not sure about your coverage, don’t hesitate to reach out to your insurance agent.

You’re covered for these

Most renters insurance policies cover damage from hail, lighting, windstorms, wildfires and the weight (think ceiling/roof) of ice, snow and sleet.

These perils, as they’re called by the insurance company, are often covered and you may receive a reimbursement to replace your damaged items.

If the wind breaks a window and your living room furniture gets ruined from the hurricane-force winds, you may be covered under your policy.

When speaking to your agent, depending on how bad the storm damage is, make sure that your policy covers alternative housing while repairs are ongoing. Your renters insurance may pay for you to stay at a hotel in the meantime.

You’re not covered for flood damage

Nearly 41 million Americans currently live in flood zones. But renters insurance does not cover flood damage, just water damage caused by appliances.

If there’s a high risk of floods in your area, consider an umbrella flood policy to protect yourself and your belongings. First, use the FEMA Flood Map to identify your area and its risk of flood.

If you need protection, the National Flood Insurance Program, a community program insurance policy, offers access to participating flood insurance providers. Before signing, ask how soon until the policy goes into effect — 30 days is the standard.

The flood policy will help you return your property to pre-flood conditions, according to FEMA.

floodingflooding

Or earth movement

Half of U.S. residents are at risk for damage from an earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS). Most people think of California and the Pacific Northwest. But there are many spots around the country that exhibit earthquakes with enough magnitude to cause damage. Just last December, scientists recorded a 4.4 earthquake in Tennessee.

Earth movement doesn’t only include earthquakes, but also landslides and volcanic eruption. None of these events are included in your renters insurance coverage.

Depending on your home’s location, you may consider buying an additional policy for earthquake, landslide or earth movement protection. According to USAA, there are grants available in California to discount the price of earthquake insurance.

For landslides, an additional policy is required. It’s based on the property’s slope, house value, closeness to nearby mountains and hills and frequency of landslides. It’s expensive so be sure that your home needs it before pulling the trigger.

Choosing reimbursement

The main issue will be replacing your valuables after the storm damage. When looking for the best policy for you, talk to your agent about the benefit of replacement cost coverage vs. actual cash value coverage.

Depending on your items, one may be better than the other. Replacement reimbursement gives you the value amount for the item as if it was purchased today. The actual cash value is the depreciated value of it before the damage occurred.

How can your property manager help?

After the incident, follow up with your landlord or property manager to confirm the timeline of repairs. If the storm damaged the outside of the structure and deemed your home less than optimal for living, inquire about reimbursement for alternative living costs.

Inventory all damaged belongings once it’s safe to do so after the storm. Let your landlord know that you’re coordinating as well with your renter’s insurance. You’ll be glad that you have an up-to-date policy to help you get back on your feet during this scary time.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

10 Essentials for a Homemade First Aid Kit

Having medical supplies in your apartment just makes good sense. A well-stocked first-aid kit can help you respond effectively to common injuries and emergencies, according to the Mayo Clinic . Especially when an urgent need for an adhesive bandage or ice pack happens.

Why not be prepared and tailor a first aid kit to meet your everyday needs? A homemade first aid kit for minor emergencies lets you pick and choose all the must-haves. It doesn’t need to cost a slew of bucks either. Start your medicinal scavenger hunt at your local dollar store, where you’ll likely be surprised by the inventory.

The first step, determine your budget. Spend between $10 and $20 and have plenty of handy essentials right at your fingertips. Your first aid kit can be easily stored neatly in a pantry, or beneath the sink in your kitchen or bathroom.

We’ve organized a list of basics to help you get your homemade first aid kit ready for use.

1. Pain relievers

pain medicinepain medicine

Generic-brand pain relievers come in many formats such as gel, lotion and patches. Use pain relievers for headaches and to reduce swelling. Find them for less at discount stores.

You can also look for brand name pain relievers at your favorite big-box retailer, drug store or pharmacy. If you have a rewards card at your drug store, you can also look for two-for-one deals on the pain relievers that work best for you.

2. Reusable ice packs

Reusable ice packs, which you can store in the freezer, are musts for your first aid kit. They should be your go-to to reduce swelling from bumps and twists.

If you need an ice pack immediately but don’t have one that’s cold, make an investment and buy instant cold packs. They’re easy to use: Snap the seal inside or squeeze the pack and they get cold in an instant! Just be sure to look for ones that are non-toxic.

3. Protective gloves

Be cautious about cleanliness. Try to keep a wound that requires attention clean of germs by picking up non-latex gloves. Look for deals. Sometimes, they come in multi-packs.

4. Minor wound dressing

first aid kit supplies for dressing minor woundsfirst aid kit supplies for dressing minor wounds

Think of what you might need to dress minor wounds from accidental falls or burns from cooking. The list could include:

  • Gauze pads
  • Elastic wraps
  • Assorted band-aids
  • Cute band-aids for littles
  • Adhesive tape
  • Bandage strips and “butterfly” bandages in assorted sizes
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Antiseptic cleansers

5. Hydrogen peroxide

You can shop for hydrogen peroxide at the dollar store of choice. You can also save there on musts like hand sanitizer and non-latex gloves for whoever is administering the first aid.

6. Applicators

Be sure to have items you use every day, including cotton balls and swabs. They’ll serve double-duty in the bathroom for everything from ear cleaning to makeup removal.

7. Tweezers

tweezerstweezers

Look for tweezers for splinter removal in the health and beauty section. Get small scissors for cutting bandages or gauze to the right length, too.

8. Thermometer

To know for sure if someone is running a fever, you should pick up a thermometer and add it to the kit’s mix. Some digital varieties even come with disposable plastic sleeves. These are great if you have more than one child whose temperature must be taken.

9. First aid box or case

Check the automotive and household aisles and you might score a small, sectioned case with a snap-lock to store everything in.

10. First aid manual

It’s also helpful to include a first aid manual in your kit as a guide for treating minor injuries and wounds. Look for one with instructions on performing CPR and diagrams of how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, in the event of choking.

Need more stuff?

For more extensive homemade first aid kits, you’ll probably have to stray outside the bounds of the dollar store. Head to your local pharmacy or supermarket to pick up extra items.

Now that you’ve created a first aid kit for your apartment, you’re a pro! Create a second first aid kit to keep in your car. You never know when it could come in handy.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

NYC Noise Complaints Increase 279% in Just 4 Months

Even Americans who haven’t visited know that New York City never sleeps. Endless streams of people on the street and taxi cabs clogging the roadways are just part of the ceaseless movement in the city. With a population nearing nine million people, New York City always has something going on within its five boroughs.

With all the commotion, it’s safe to say that New York City could be one of the loudest cities on earth. However, it seems that New Yorkers are getting tired of the noise more than usual this year. From COVID-19 lockdowns to widespread protests, New York City has become quite chaotic lately — is this the cause of the increase in noise complaints?

Methodology

We analyzed data from NYC OpenData, which includes a database of 311 calls placed within the city. We looked at noise complaint calls placed from February 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, and from February 1, 2019, to June 30, 2019.

We also used available population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau to weigh noise complaint call data in relation to the population of each New York borough: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

Noise complaints rise 106% in one year

a line graph showing an increase in new york city noise complaints from 2019 to 2020a line graph showing an increase in new york city noise complaints from 2019 to 2020

It’s no secret that New York City is a noisy place –– the bustling streets and never-ending traffic jams create quite the cacophony of sound. However, it seems like residents are complaining about noise more than ever, especially since last year. Total complaints more than doubled from this time last year, increasing by 106 percent. 

Here’s a breakdown of the data between 2019 and 2020: 

Noise complaints increased by over 106 percent from 2019 to 2020 (within the measured time period). The city also saw a 97 percent increase in complaints from the beginning of April to the end of May 2020, marking the largest jump in noise complaints so far this year. These increases paint a striking picture of the considerable changes in city life over the last several months.

COVID-19, lockdowns and protests in NYC

an illustration showing a 279% increase in total noise complaints in New York City from February to June 2020an illustration showing a 279% increase in total noise complaints in New York City from February to June 2020

The beginning of March marked the start of quarantines, lockdowns and panic over the COVID-19 pandemic. With such a huge population density (27,000 people per square mile), New York City quickly fell into chaos as the virus spread through the city –– as of June 30, there were over 212,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City alone.

Quarantines and lockdowns within the city meant millions of people began working from home. With so many now at home from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., it’s no surprise that New Yorkers had more to complain about when it comes to noisy neighbors and the sounds of city traffic. The data reflects this timeline perfectly, showing a difference of nearly 10,000 additional complaints logged in March (compared to February).

The end of May 2020 came with a new noise in New York City: protests. This unrest was widespread across New York City, with protests in all five boroughs. The sheer volume of these protests can be seen clearly in the data we analyzed. From the beginning of May to the end of June, noise complaints increased by 79 percent. Additionally, complaints of “loud talking” more than doubled from the beginning of April to the end of May, about the time when the protests began.

Battle of the boroughs: Who complains the most in NYC?

Despite having a smaller population than other boroughs, The Bronx has logged the most noise complaints in 2020 so far –– a total of 81,869 complaints logged from February to June.

Because populations differ across the five boroughs, we divided each borough’s total complaints by its respective total population to find comparable percentages.

Borough-specific data is below:

  • The Bronx: 81,869 total complaints (6 percent of the population)
  • Manhattan: 74,661 total complaints (5 percent of the population)
  • Brooklyn: 73,899 total complaints (3 percent of the population)
  • Queens: 49,469 total complaints (2 percent of the population)
  • Staten Island: 6,635 total complaints (1 percent of the population)

A borough rich in local culture, The Bronx has been called the birthplace of hip-hop and salsa, is home to Yankee Stadium and boasts one of the most diverse populations in the city. This diversity could be related to a higher volume of noise complaints, especially since a 2017 study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal determined that neighborhoods with higher poverty rates and larger minority populations experience more noise pollution than other neighborhoods.

New York City explodes with fireworks

From the beginning of April to the end of June this year, complaints about illegal fireworks increased by a staggering 283,595 percent –– only 19 complaints were logged in April, while complaints in June totaled 53,902. Brooklyn is seeing the majority of complaints about fireworks, with approximately one in three complaints originating from the largest of the boroughs.

Fireworks are the second most complained-about noise in New York City from February to June, with loud music and parties taking the first place prize for the most complained-about noise (157,823 total complaints during this time period). With this in mind, it’s important to note that 311 OpenData categorizes these complaints in their own section, rather than grouping them with other noise complaints.

Here is a breakdown of the noises New Yorkers complained about the most in June 2020: 

  • Loud music and parties: 73,238 complaints
  • Fireworks: 53,902 complaints
  • Traffic: 10,795 complaints
  • Loud talking: 7,213 complaints
  • Construction: 2,014 complaints

While summer fireworks in New York City have always been present, this year is definitely unique. The unusual volume of fireworks has raised many conspiracy theories among New Yorkers, with some claiming the government is using the fireworks to desensitize the public to “war-like sounds.” Others claim the police are using the fireworks as a punishment for the recent protests, while some say New Yorkers are simply bored in quarantine.

Whatever the cause of the fireworks, they are wreaking havoc across the city. Countless residents have been hospitalized with firework-related injuries and the city government has created a police taskforce to curb illegal firework activity, with police donning riot gear and arresting anyone believed to be involved.

New York City has always been loud, but 2020 seems to have turned up the volume in the city. Noise complaints are at an all-time high with no end in sight. If you’re living in New York City this summer, there are easy ways to soundproof your home.

Sources

U.S. Census Bureau | New York City OpenData: 1, 2 | Gothamist | The Atlantic

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Source: apartmentguide.com