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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

  • Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Kits

    What is an Emergency Kit?

    emergency kitAn emergency kit, according to Ready.gov, is “simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.” Many of the items found in your personal emergency kit may vary from person to person (due to personal circumstances), but the majority should remain constant.

    Emergency kits are your bread and butter during times of disaster and other crises. Everything inside should help you get through whatever disaster comes your way. Of course, all disasters come with different challenges, but the basic necessities will always remain unchanged. Which brings us to the next question…

     

    What Should an Emergency Kit Contain?

    Keep what you need to survive. What do you need in an emergency? The obvious answers are food and water. But that’s just the beginning. With more gear and tools, you will have a much easier time getting through your crisis.

    The following list is what Ready.gov recommends you have in your emergency kit (and should last you for at least three days):

    • Emergency KitWater
    • Food
    • Radio
    • Flashlight
    • First aid kit
    • Whistle
    • Dust mask
    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags
    • Wrench or pliers
    • Can opener
    • Maps
    • Cell phone charger, inverter, or solar charger

     

    All these items serve an important purpose for not just survival, but obtaining whatever comforts you can when everything else is out of reach. Whistles are essential for calling for help without wasting too much energy. Moist towelettes can be used for sanitary needs. Food for eating. Water for drinking. Well, you get the idea. Everything in your kit should help you succeed during a disaster.

     

    What Should You Do With Your Kit?

    Emergency kits are to be used in the event of an emergency (as the name implies). That means it must be ready when an emergency happens. If your kit has sat unused for years, there’s a chance some of the items won’t be usable when the time comes.

    Flashlight batteries could be dead, food could be old and bad, and other things could be wrong with the contents if you haven’t looked through it in a while. Ideally, you should be checking your emergency kits every six months, rotating your food, water, and other gear when necessary.

     

    Keep it Handy

    It would be great if we could plan when and where disasters strike. That way we would always be ready. But, as life would have it, controlling those outside factors just isn’t something we are able to do. Usually, disasters give us little or no warning, which means you’ll need to act fast when a crisis comes for a visit. And, since you never know where you’ll be when disaster strikes, it’s ideal to have an emergency kit in many different locations.

     

    Home

    You spend a lot of time at home. If nothing else, it’s where you sleep, and many disasters have been known to wait until the wee hours of the morning before making their presence known (i.e. tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.). Having an emergency kit at home is vital to your success, day or night.

    Speaking of night, it’s never so dark as when the power’s out and you’re looking for your gear. That’s one reason why it’s imperative to store your emergency kit in an easy to reach location. Likewise, disasters may force you from your home without a moment’s notice (much like those who fled the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta). When this happens, you grab what’s available and get out of there. By having your emergency kit in a handy, easy to reach location (such as your front closet), your emergency kit becomes your bug out bag, which will help you get through the next 72 hours of uncertainty.

     

    Vehicle

    Trunk Emergency Kit All these emergency items can pack up small for maximum trunk space.

    From mudslides in California to snowy roads in many other parts of the country, your road trip can take a turn for the worst without so much as a warning. Drivers have been stranded in their car for days, relying on whatever provisions they had for their road trip to see them through until help arrived. Usually, it’s just a few snacks, rather than anything substantial. By having an emergency kit in your vehicle, you can not only have the food and water needed for survival, but tools to help get your car unstuck and back on the road. At the very least, you can have ways to call or signal for help.

     

    Work

    Aside from your home, you spend quite a bit of time (too much, perhaps?) at the office. Find out what your business’s emergency contingency plan is. If they already have kits for their employees, great! But chances are you’re on your own in that regard. Put an emergency kit together to put in your locker, slide under your desk, or somewhere else it will fit.

     

    School

    Your kids deserve to be ready for anything, and you can help them. There are many instances in which your children may have use for a mini emergency kit, such as a school lock down, severe weather, bus accident, and more. Just like any kit, your children’s school emergency kits should have water, food, an emergency whistle, a first aid kit, and other essential items. Of course, this kit should be small, so as to fit in the bottom of your children’s backpacks. Additionally, have your children keep another emergency kit in their locker. This way, they can have larger items (such as an emergency blanket) already at the school should they need it. For more information, the Mom with a Prep blog discusses what each child’s emergency kit should contain, as well as why it’s necessary.

     

    Get Your Own Emergency Kit

    Now that you know more about emergency kits, the next step is to acquire one of your own. You can either make one yourself, buy a pre-assembled kit, or add to an already assembled kit with your own customizations and personalizations.

     

    Purchase a Pre-Assembled Emergency Kit

    We’ve put together a wide range of pre-assembled emergency kits, containing all the basics you need for various situations. Check out our line of emergency kits and get the one(s) that will best suit your needs. Once you have your kit, feel free to add to it. You might include personal documents, extra flashlights, and anything else feel you may need.

     

    Make Your Own

    If you already have everything you need for your kit, or you just want to use other products not in our pre-assembled kits, you can make your own easily by getting a backpack and filling it with all the supplies you need (see above for a list of important items). Or, you could make a hybrid by taking one of our kits and adding other items of your choosing.

     

    When emergencies strike, you’ll want some basic supplies to help keep yourself safe and healthy. Emergency kits, when properly packed with frequent rotations of items, are the ideal resource to help see you through those tough times. Keep them in your home, in your car, and at work and school. After all, you never know when or where a disaster will strike. But when you’re prepared, there’s nothing you can’t handle.

     

    Click here to shop our emergency kits.

     

    Emergency Kit with Box

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