If a fire happens, will your important documents stay safe?
Apartment dwellers need to be proactive about protecting critical information in case of a fire. Plenty of us have gone digital when it comes to storage of personal information, but certain items still need to come in hard copies. And some things, other than papers, also need a tangible safe place.
The safety deposit box at the local bank is still an option. However, bank hours aren’t always aligned with yours. If you want to go the digital route, look for companies that specialize in the storage of critical data. You can access your info directly from your phone, tablet or Amazon’s Alexa device. But if you prefer to go more old school â you need to think about protecting your valuables that are difficult to replace.
What will you need easy access to when you’re in an emergency fire crisis? Your list will probably look like this: an original birth certificate, social security card, insurance papers and car titles and other original docs. You could also include spare keys, passports and irreplaceable items like heirloom jewelry. A fireproof safe box will give you peace of mind. And, it will act as a security measure should a fire occur.
Are all fire safe boxes the same?
Did you know that not all fire safe boxes are alike? For example, standard fireproof safes protect your valuables against intense heat and smoke damage for periods of up to 120 minutes, according to Western Safe, while others can withstand the heat for longer. So, what’s the best type of fireproof box? Experts say it all depends on what you intend to store.
You should look for a fire safe box that has emergency override keys so you can open it up even if you forget the passcode. The keys are also good if the batteries run out on the keypad.
To help you know what things to keep in a fire safe box in your apartment, we’ve organized a list. These items make good sense to safeguard against fire:
- Critical documents: Store your checking and savings account bank books, birth certificates, social security cards, wills and passports in a fire safe box. If you need to get out at a moment’s notice, these important documents will be safe and accessible.
- Digital media: Your digital must-haves include USB sticks, memory cards and CDs. These items are your physical back-up. And this is especially true if you don’t want your most private data to live on remote servers.
- Insurance policies: Talk to your insurance company about your renters insurance following the fire. Having access right away to your policy will help you to take action post-fire.
- Cash: Life today is debit and credit card-driven. But it’s also smart to keep a stash of small bills on hand. If an emergency calls for quick cash, you’ll be glad you thought ahead and put some aside.
- Other valuables: Remember to organize a file with essential information. Include emergency numbers of family members. Have your prescriptions, who your family doctor is and contact info for your pet’s vet, too.
Do your homework
Before purchasing a fire safe box, be sure to research what’s on the market. You’ll be surprised to find a range of choices. You can even select from fireproof safes that you can bolt to the ground or wall. Is the fire safe box waterproof? If not, be sure to protect all contents by storing them in plastic.
An official fire rating from the Underwriters Laboratory comes with all safes, according to Haven Life. The rating lets you know what temperature the fire safe box will stay inside during a fire. It will also let you know how long it will stay at that temperature.
Look for fire safe boxes that are either 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 325-degrees safe. They typically come with up to three hours’ worth of protection. Spruce reports that some fire safe boxes can withstand fires with temperatures up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
Does size matter?
Fire safe boxes are compact to mid-size and come in a range to meet your needs. You can find options with a capacity of 0.17 cubic feet and weighing in at just 14 pounds. Or, one that weighs a little less than 28 pounds and can store flat 8-1/2-by-11-inch, letter-sized documents.
Extra-large capacity fire boxes can hold much more. They can weigh more than 100 pounds and measure more than 1-1/2-feet on each side. But the size is worth it because it gives your stuff a greater chance of surviving a disaster, according to Wirecutter. The site recommends a fire safe box the size of a mini-fridge that weighs in at 56 pounds.
Choose a fire safe box that has all the protective features and benefits to keep your important documents safe. In the long run, the investment could prove to be a wise one.
The post What Items Should You Put in a Fire Safe Box appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
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
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
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.
Did you know the U.S. has an average of more than 1,000 tornadoes recorded each year?
There are two regions with an excessively high frequency of tornadoes. Florida is one and “Tornado Alley” in the south-central United States is the other, according to NOAA.
If you’re in the part of the country that’s prone to tornadoes, you need to have a safe room to go to when the weather turns bad.
Your safe spot will shield you from the wind, hail and flying debris. A safe location should have no windows and could be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor of your apartment building. An interior closet or bathroom in your apartment is also a safe place to hunker down in.
Items to keep in your tornado safe space
When you have to go to your safe space, you never know how long you’ll be there. It could be 30 minutes and it could be for several hours. You need to be prepared, not only with essentials but also with things to keep you and your family distracted and calm. We’ve organized a list to help get you through the storm with useful items for your safe space.
1. Water and snacks
Water and munchies are a must for everyone in your safe space. Plan ahead with water bottles and non-perishables. Keep foodstuffs organized.
Have a bag you can grab to take with you to a storm shelter or your safe space in your apartment.
2. Baby and toddler food
Have a baby in the family? Be sure to have formula, bottles and baby food with utensils ready for your tornado safe space. Or, pack it to take to a shelter.
If you’ve got a toddler, have Cheerios and other favorites in resealable plastic bags for easy accessibility.
3. NOAA radio
You should get a weather radio so you can listen to NOAA Weather Radio. It will keep you tuned in to emergency info about tornado watches and warnings.
You don’t know what the conditions will be like during the weather event and post-storm climate. FEMA recommends wearing closed-toe shoes like boots or sturdy sneakers. A likelihood of broken glass and other rubble that could prove dangerous.
5. Protective gear
In case of the tornado hitting full out in your area, be ready for anything. Keep bike helmets to protect from falling debris with you. Have a helmet for everyone in the family.
And if you have room and the time to drag it, bring a mattress with you. It could protect the entire family in case of flying glass, doors or other debris.
6. First aid kit
Prepare a small backpack with Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes and more, or buy a first aid kit that’s already full of necessities.
If a tornado warning occurs, you can grab the backpack on your way to a storm shelter, or stash one in your apartment’s safe space.
7. Sanitation and hygiene supplies
How long will you be in your tornado safe spot? Only Mother Nature knows for sure. Since it’s always better to be ready ahead of time, have a few personal hygiene supplies on hand. Think disposable towels, hand sanitizers, portable tissue packs, toilet paper and trash bags.
8. Necessities for kids
Be sure to pack a safe space or shelter bag with necessities, such as diapers and wipes for babies. Also, have a go-bag with anything special your toddler needs. Include favorite washcloths that could prove useful.
Power losses are likely when high winds blow. Be sure to have a battery-operated lantern and other flashlights. Also, plan ahead with extra batteries.
10. Cell phone chargers
Don’t risk your cell phone going to black. You may not have power, so be prepared with a portable universal battery cell phone charger. Find one with USB ports for several phones.
11. Personal docs
It’s always smart to keep important documents in one place. In a storm situation, keep them in a waterproof bag. Safeguard your passport, insurance papers and your checkbook.
12. Activities for kids
If you have little kids, be sure to have supplies to keep them busy while you wait out the wind. It will be a good distraction.
Charge iPads charged, bring crayons and coloring books, a board game and favorite stuffed animals for nap time. Have pillows and blankets, too.
13. Adult distractions
Adults need their own versions of safe space distractions. Have your iPad mini and access to the novel you’re reading (or listening to). Bring your crossword puzzle book and the like.
Have pillows and a blanket in your safe space, too. These things could help make the waiting period for the storm to pass more bearable.
14. Dog or cat accessories
Does your dog or cat get traumatized in thunder, wind and rain? Have a thunder vest or shirt that they can wear. It can squash anxiety through gentle, constant pressure.
Create a spot where cats will feel safe to hide under a blanket. Also have water, food, treats and toys for your pets.
15. Meds and eyeglasses
Remember to keep your medications and eyeglasses (and contact lenses) with you in a storm. Keep headache pills and other medications you take in your safe space, or in the shelter bag you’ve packed. Include daily prescriptions, insulin, epinephrine auto-injectors and anything else you may need, along with contact lens solution and eye drops.
After the storm
According to the Weather Channel, it’s critical to be sure that a storm has truly passed before going outside. Check for updates on your NOAA Weather Radio, local broadcasts or cell phone. These outlets will be able to provide the latest weather information related to the storm where you live.
The post 15 Items to Keep in Your Tornado Safe Space appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
Tornadoes are no joke. With winds that can top 250 miles per hour, these storms can clear a path a mile wide and 50 miles long. Emerging from afternoon thunderstorms, tornadoes usually include hail and high winds. This is why you need to take cover when the warning siren goes off.
The average alert time for a tornado is 13 minutes, but there are environmental clues one is on its way. The sky transforms into a dark, greenish mass and begins to roar like an oncoming train.
Tornadoes can happen anywhere
Tornadoes occur all over the world, but, âIn terms of absolute tornado counts, the United States leads the list, with an average of over 1,000 tornadoes recorded each year,” according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.
The U.S. experiences tornadoes all over the country, but one particular area gets hit the hardest. Known as Tornado Alley, the area covers South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Northern Texas and Eastern Colorado.
Whether you live in an area where tornadoes are common or not, it’s important to know how to stay safe in your apartment. Just as you create a plan for many emergency situations, know where to go in your apartment during these destructive storms.
Staying safe in an apartment building
On average, tornadoes move at speeds of about 10-20 miles per hour. They rarely travel more than six miles, which means they can damage a whole section of town. For that reason, if a tornado is in your area, seek shelter.
While basements are not an option in all apartment buildings, get low if you can during a tornado. Heading to the basement or even the sub-level of a parking garage offers the most insulation against the weather.
If your building doesn’t have a basement, try to get to the lowest floor if you can, regardless of whether or not it’s underground.
The next safest option during a tornado is any area fully-inside the building. This means no outside walls. Under a stairwell, an interior hallway or even a room within your apartment can work. Make sure there are no windows.
Crouch down as low as you can get with your face down. Cover your head with your hands for extra protection or bring in a bike helmet to wear during the storm. Because of your location, there’s still a chance for debris to fall, so protecting your head is important.
Even if they have an exterior wall or windows, bathrooms are safe because the thick pipes inside the walls insulate you during a tornado. Climb into the bathtub if you have one and bring in your bed’s mattress to serve as a cover.
These are usually interior rooms by design, making closets a good choice to ride out a tornado. Pull your clothes off their hangers and grab any bedding from the shelves to insulate yourself. Don’t forget to close the closet door for even more protection.
Avoid dangerous areas
Tornadoes kill about 80 people each year, according to John Roach at AccuWeather. There was a decrease in tornado fatalities in 2018, with only 10 Americans dying. This is the lowest number since record-keeping started in 1875.
Yet, people still lose their lives to these dangerous storms. While knowing the safest places to be in your apartment during a tornado, you should also know what areas to avoid.
With gusting winds strong enough to shatter glass, windows become dangerous during a tornado. Even worse, once a window breaks, all kinds of debris can blow inside.
If you can’t stay completely clear from windows during a tornado, do your best to block them and protect yourself. If you can, duct tape a blanket over the window or slide a big piece of furniture in front to keep glass out of your apartment.
While it may seem like a good idea to slide under your bed or inch behind a heavy dresser for protection during a tornado, it’s not. These pieces of furniture can shift during a storm or even fall through the floor. You don’t want to get pinned under or against something so heavy you can’t move.
Preparing for a tornado
If you live in an area where tornado warnings are common, consider creating a tornado evacuation kit to have on hand. These can include items you’d need to safely and easily exit your apartment after a tornado passes, such as:
- Portable radio
- Extra batteries
- Cell phone charger
- Bottled water
- Spare set of car and apartment keys
- Photocopy of your driver’s license
Having these items ready can make it easier to evacuate your building after the storm.
Remaining safe after the tornado passes
Being safe doesn’t stop once a tornado passes. Dealing with the aftermath of this type of storm includes new dangers. Make sure to watch out for fallen or exposed utility lines, downed trees or limbs and debris.
Exercise extreme caution when leaving your apartment building. If enough damage occurs, you may have to stay out of your apartment. You may not see the dangers, so it’s important to wait for an official word before reentering. When you can, take pictures of any damage to your own property since you’ll most likely have to file an insurance claim.
Preparing for the unexpected such as weather, fire or even flood means having the right supplies and the best information on how to stay safe.
The post The Safest Place in Your Apartment During a Tornado appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.