Just One Night Could Save Your Life
August 28, 2015
Tornado-Prep for Apartment Dwellers
Being tornado-ready is a Midwestern must. For people who live in apartments versus those who live in homes, the task can be a little more challenging. That’s why many apartment-dwellers haven’t tornado-prepped their apartment at all. If you haven’t prepped your apartment, this week is the time to change that. No, it’s not National Disaster Preparedness Week. It’s just that being prepared could save your life—and it won’t take more than an evening to get it done.
- Take stock of your valuables ahead of time, including photographs, appraisals, and other supporting documents. Don’t know where to start? Some insurance companies offer free home-inventory software online. There are also many great home-inventory apps.
- Know in advance exactly where you’re going to go during a tornado. There’s no running into a cellar like Auntie Em. You sure don’t want to take the Dorothy approach and ride out twisters on your bed. So, for renters living on an upper floor, get to at least ground level if you safely can (e.g., an underground parking garage or a neighbor’s first-floor apartment). NEVER TAKE THE ELEVATOR DURING A TORNADO WARNING. If you can’t get to a low level, the next best thing is a hallway near the center of your building. If you’re in a ground-level apartment, take to a centrally located closet, bathroom, or hallway without windows. Wherever you go, lie down.
- Tornado deaths and injuries are often the result of hurtling debris and falling objects. People are typically advised to protect themselves by getting under a mattress or a very heavy piece of furniture, such as a table. Obviously, you can’t drag a mattress or heavy table into your closet or down the hallway. What you can do is cover yourself with pillows and blankets and wear a helmet, all of which improve your odds of not getting hurt.
- Evacuation Kit. Your kit should include a portable radio (which can be bought for well under $10 on Amazon), a flashlight, batteries, credit card and cash, a first-aid kid (also available for under $10), a spare set of keys, drinking water, personal ID, and an extra supply of any medications you can’t afford to go with out for too long. Since your kit could be stowed away for a long time, don’t put batteries in the flashlight beforehand. Keep them in their original packaging, to prevent them from discharging and from corroding.
- With limited space, where are you supposed to keep your helmet, blankets, and other tornado-prep supplies? Probably the best place is underneath your bed.
- Even if you and your own apartment are unscathed, your neighbors and surroundings might not be. Be a good Samaritan by checking on those who live near you to see if anyone needs medical attention. And if your apartment didn’t fare well, remember to take pictures of any damage for your insurance claim.