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  • How to be Prepared for Any Apartment Emergency

    The following article is a guest post from Sam Radbil.

    Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.

     

    View of colorful apartments and condos in the city. View of colorful apartments and condos in the city.

    Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and brutal winter storms are just a few of the hazards for which people all around the U.S. have to be prepared. Even smaller disruptions, such as a water main break, can be mitigated with just a few early steps. And it’s not just homeowners. As a renter, your landlord might have had the responsibility of installing emergency lights, smoke detectors, and a standby power system, but you have your share of preparedness measures to take, too. At ABODO, we want to make sure every renter is prepared.

     

    Household Emergency Supplies

    Citywide catastrophes aside, small-scale household emergencies need preparing, too. For example, make sure you have an easily accessible flashlight with working batteries, a few candles, matches, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and a small store of potable water. The average person needs 1 gallon every three days, which is the minimum recommended to have on-hand.

    emergency-kitStore-bought and sealed water is a great, simple, and sanitary option, but you can also prepare your own by completely sanitizing water or soda bottles (not milk or fruit juice containers, because leftover sugars can lead to bacteria growth), filling with chlorine-treated water, and replacing every six months.

    These supplies will come in handy during severe weather or a kitchen mishap, but you should also have a full-scale emergency kit packed in the event of larger disasters.

     

    Disaster Supplies Kit

    Like insurance, it’s something you should always have but hope you never need. Since space is at a premium for many renters, you could consider storing your disaster supplies in the trunk of your car (if you have ready access), so they’re ready and waiting if you need to hit the road. If that’s not possible, keep the kit as available as possible — don’t let it end up in inconvenient, offsite storage.

    But what to pack? Ready.gov recommends some of the aforementioned items, such as a flashlight and first aid kit, as well as extra batteries, radio (and NOAA weather radio), a whistle, dust masks, plastic sheeting, duct tape, moist towlettes, garbage bags, plastic twist-ties, wrench/pliers, manual can opener, maps, cellphone with charger (solar, if possible), and a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for every person.

     

    Other Helpful Tips

    There is the possibility that in the event of a serious disaster, you won’t be able to charge your cellphone, or you could lose your phone. Add a little extra protection by making a list of pertinent phone numbers (emergency services, family members, etc.) and keeping it in your disaster kit.

    • Sign up for emergency alert texts, so you can respond quickly and appropriately to changing circumstances.
    • Keep a map of your building and surrounding roadways in your disaster kit, which should be provided with your lease. Some apartment complexes can be very large and winding, and in case of an emergency, your regular route might be blocked. It’s important to know all of your exit/evacuation routes.
    • Have some cash on hand as well — ATMs and card readers won’t work with no power.

     

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  • Winter Survival on the Side of the Road

    5-miles-from-the-north-rim-via-stephen-krieg-photographics Winter Survival 45 miles from the North Rim - Photo via Stephen Krieg Photographics

    A sheriff’s official called it a “Christmas miracle.” On December 23 and 24, rescuers found a family that got stuck and then separated while trying to drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which was closed for the winter.

    The Klein family, of New Jersey, did some winter survival things well to survive their adventure, according to news coverage. They also made some mistakes that could have caused a tragic ending.

    The Kleins were willing to take an alternate route to get to their destination on December 22 when the primary route was closed. That, and the way father Eric Klein and 10-year-old son Isaac spent the night in the car, suggests they had enough fuel in the vehicle.

    “Never let your gas tank get below half,” said AAA Utah spokesperson Rolayne Fairclough. “In winter weather, if you’re detoured, you’ll have some flexibility, and you don’t have to worry about running out of gas.”

    The Forest Service road on which the Klein family got stuck didn’t have cell coverage. So the family agreed to have mother Karen Klein, a marathoner and triathlete who’d had some survival training, walk to the main road and get help. A few hours after she didn’t return, Eric walked the other way and found a high spot with enough cell coverage to call for help. That suggests they kept a cell phone charged.

    “Have a cell phone charger system so you have communications,” Fairclough said.

    “Don’t fail to signal for help, often and vigorously. Fire, smoke, and mirrors are good signals. Having a charged cell phone is a better one. Time is precious in a survival ordeal, so use it wisely to provide for your basic needs and be sure to signal at every opportunity,” wrote Tim MacWelch, a survival instructor, in a story for Outdoor Life.

    Karen Klein told “Good Morning America” she put snow in her cheek to keep hydrated.  At least she didn’t swallow it frozen.

    “Don’t eat ice or snow,” MacWelch warned. It can cause hypothermia. MacWelch suggested filling a bottle with snow or ice and putting it close to, but not next to, your skin, so body heat can melt it.

    Karen also stayed awake.

    "I just talked to myself and rocked back to stay warm," she told reporters.

    Car Stuck in Snow off a Road Winter SurvivalEven if you’re in a car, stay awake, especially when the engine is running, according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

    If you run the car engine, only run it 15 minutes every hour and keep the tailpipe clear of snow to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, keep windows cracked to avoid running out of oxygen.

    Karen Klein admitted they could have avoided this ordeal if they’d planned better.

    "As far as places being closed, we just didn't realize that these roads were closed and these visitor centers were closed," she told NBC News. "We didn't investigate that deeply."

    The main road to the North Rim, State Route 67, was closed.

    "Google Maps shows there's a way -- but it's impassable," Jim Driscoll, chief deputy for Coconino County, told the Associated Press, adding, "This is a problem we've had numerous times."

    During winter travel, stay on main roads, urges Ready.gov.

    “Avoid back road shortcuts,” the site urges. Tell someone where you’re going, your route, and expected arrival time.

    “If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route,” Ready.gov said.

    Stay near your car Winter Survival

    When you’re stranded, stay close to your vehicle. The North Dakota Department of Transportation even suggests if you need to leave your vehicle, tie yourself to it with rope.

    Karen told NBC News she set out with only Cheerios to eat.

    Make sure you’ve got an emergency kit, Fairclough said.

    Keep cold weather gear like blankets or a sleeping bag, boots, a coat and gloves in the car, she said. Aluminum “space blankets” can fit in a glove compartment.

    Bring a power source for cell phones, a radio and a flashlight with extra batteries.

    Believe it or not, a candle can heat a whole car’s cabin, she said. Keep matches too, because extreme cold can freeze some lighters.

    Add water and high-energy food like candy, raisins, nuts, dehydrated and freeze-dried fruit, and jerky. Remember toilet paper.

    Finally, take tools and equipment for the car: signaling equipment like bright cloth or flares, chains, booster cables, a nylon rope and a shovel, sand or kitty litter for traction.

    In a pinch, you can use the car’s floor mats for traction, Fairclough said.

    “A lot of people just don’t put a shovel in their cars,” she admitted.

    The Kleins’ trip could have ended in disaster. Coconino County, Ariz., Sheriff Jim Driscoll told the Los Angeles Times that in the last month, three people in the county died from exposure.

    The family did some things right, and emergency responders from many agencies responded quickly. They survived. But their errors could have cost them their lives.

    “It can be a pretty hostile environment,” Driscoll told the Times.

     

    Winter_Storm_Blog_Image2 Winter Survival

  • Resolution to Prepare: Make 2017 the Best Year for Preparedness

    2016 was quite the year. The Cubs won the World Series, another Star Wars movie came out, Brexit, a new president was elected…talk about busy!

    resolution

    But there were other, less exciting things that happened as well. Severe wildfires scorched the country. Hurricane Matthew left devastation in its wake. Tornadoes. Flooding. Contaminated water. These are just a few of the disasters that left their marks on 2016. Other events such as job loss, accident, and injury also affected countless people.

    Perhaps you were one of those affected.

    Year after year, disasters come and life changing events alter the course of countless lives. You know they’re coming, but far too frequently planning is just a thought and the preparations don’t get done.

    Well, this year is different! This year, you’re going to make big strides in your emergency preparedness! But how, you ask, will you do that?

    Easy.

     

    Plan

    Planning in this sense is a verb, which means it involves action. Get out a pen and paper, your phone, tablet, white board, rock and chisel, or whatever it is you use to keep track of important things, and start writing down your emergency plan.

    resolutionYour emergency plan should include information regarding:

    • Evacuation plan
      • How will you get out of your home in an emergency?
    • Escape routes
      • What roads will be the safest to travel on?
    • 72 hour kit
      • Food, water, and other essential items to last you three days.
    • Emergency kits
      • For your home, car, and workplace.

     

    Also, do a quick inventory of your emergency food storage. What foods do you need? Write those down and also make a plan of how to acquire what you need. Will you get it all at once, or will you need to spread it out over the year? Then make a plan for how and when you will get it all. Then, do the same thing with your emergency gear.

     

    Do

    Once your plan is set, follow it. Take some time tonight, during your next Saturday or day off to visit us online at www.beprepared.com or make a trip to the store to procure the items you need. If funds are tight, then your next day off may be too early, but that shouldn’t stop you from putting a little extra away each pay check. This way, you will be able to afford the emergency gear and food you need. Without saving, that may never happen.

     

    Repeat

    Preparing is a cycle. It doesn’t stop after a year or two or even ten. As the years progress, so do your needs. Food may need to be rotated and supplies may need to be restocked. New medications and prescriptions may have been added to your list as well. Reevaluate your emergency food storage and gear every six months to ensure all your prep is up to date and usable for when you need it. If you keep up with your preparedness regularly, replenishing won’t take long, and you’ll also receive the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re prepared for whatever this next year brings.

    Make the resolution today to be prepared for tomorrow.

     

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