You just moved into your very first apartment, and now you’re officially on your own. You may have put a lot of thought into decorating and making your new place feel like home. But, have you thought about what you might do if an unexpected emergency or severe weather happens? Here are five emergency preparedness tips to help get you ready.
1. Know Your Local Weather
Is your new apartment in the Midwest or somewhere in the Southeast? Regardless of where you live in the U.S., it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the types of severe weather in your area. You may live in a place that’s prone to tornadoes and winter snowstorms, or you might live in a part of the country where hurricanes, earthquakes or wildfires are common.
2. Stay Informed
Whether you watch the local news, check social media or listen to the radio, it helps to stay informed about the weather around you. You can even sign up for emergency alerts to be sent to your smartphone via a text message or email so you can stay up to date with the weather while you’re on the go.
3. Have a Communication Plan
Do you have a way to contact your friends and family in an emergency? Sometimes, cell towers can get knocked down by strong winds, while traditional phone lines may continue to work. On the other hand, landlines may become too overloaded with calls during a crisis. No matter the situation, the Federal Trade Commission suggests if you still have Internet access, you may want to use social media, email or text messaging to get a hold of your loved ones.
4. Build an Emergency Kit
You may have a first aid kit in your apartment, but what about an emergency kit? According to Ready.gov, you may want to at least have bottled water, non-perishable food, toilet paper, batteries, flashlights and a battery-powered radio on hand during an emergency. Remember, if you have pets, you’ll need food, water and supplies for them as well.
5. Practice Fire Safety
No matter where you live, it is important to practice fire safety. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends having working smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher that you know how to use and an escape route out of your apartment. If a fire occurs, get out immediately and call for help from a safe location, says the NSC.
Finding yourself in an emergency when you’re on your own for the first time can be overwhelming if you don’t plan ahead of time. Being proactive and prepared can help alleviate a lot of stress if an emergency happens.