Adam R. works and lives in Fort Myers, Florida. He moved to the city about a year ago to be closer to work and to have a view of the water.
He lives in a 50-unit apartment complex but has lived in Florida most of his life and has survived plenty of hurricanes.
When Adam learned that Hurricane Ian was headed for his area, he prepared like he typically does. He purchased bottled water and food that would last a week or so.
And he prepared for life without electricity. He stocked up on batteries for his flashlight and lantern.
Adam lived in a second-floor apartment. The storm surge had not previously been a concern for him. He said that Hurricane Ian, “Seemed like a typical hurricane.”
When the storm moved closer, Adam noticed that the parking lot of his building was flooded. It looked like a river.
Soon after, there was a knock at Adam’s door. A downstairs neighbor said the water was getting high and he asked if his family could come to Adam’s apartment.
Of course, Adam said yes. The man went back to get his family as Adam waited.
Eventually, Adam became concerned that the man and his family had not come back so he went looking for them.
It turned out that the man and his family couldn’t get back out of their apartment because the water was rushing in. They couldn’t get the door open.
Adam helped the man as he handed his kids out the window.
Adam was able to help the family get to his apartment safely. They watched as the roof of the building peeled apart. Tree branches fell all around the complex.
A big yacht was wedged between two buildings in the complex. As more boats were pushed into the apartment complex Adam told everyone to get away from the windows.
One boat slammed into the concrete wall of the building. It was stuck between a power line and the building. Amazingly, they didn’t lose electricity.
Adam and his new roommates waited out the storm overnight in his apartment. And while the residents of the apartment survived, their apartments are no longer livable.
One thing Adam said about the ordeal was that he no longer needed an apartment with a waterfront view – he’d seen plenty of water.
The reality is that planning for a disaster in an apartment, condo, or similar type of dwelling can make things challenging.
For one, you can’t use a gas generator if the power goes out.
Plus, it can be hard to stockpile a year’s worth of food and water since space is limited.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared.
So, here are a few factors to keep in mind when preparing for a disaster in an apartment.
Even though you might not own the condo or apartment you still want to protect your possessions.
The owner or landlord is responsible for structural damage to the building, but if a disaster, such as a flood, ruins your personal belongings then it’s your responsibility.
The good thing about renter’s insurance is that it’s relatively inexpensive. For example, depending on where you live you can get insurance for about $300 a year.
It’s well worth the cost.
Meet your neighbors:
When you live in a single-family home you don’t see your neighbors all the time.
But when you live in an apartment, chances are you will see neighbors daily as you come and go.
During a disaster, your neighbors could be an important lifeline. If flooding occurs, you might need a place to go, such as another apartment.
It’s true that you can’t depend on anyone else to save you, but getting to know your neighbors and having someone nearby when disaster strikes could be a huge advantage.
During a disaster, you won’t be able to use a gas or propane generator. They’re not realistic to use if you live in an apartment.
So, you should consider a solar generator. They’re ideal for an apartment since they are quiet, and don’t release fumes.
You won’t be able to provide power for your entire apartment, but a solar generator can keep the necessities running (like your refrigerator).
Where to park:
If a disaster is headed your way, think about where the best place to park your car would be.
It might not be at your apartment complex if you don’t think you can get out. It might be safer in a different location.
But your car should be close enough for you to get to by foot.
Maybe you could park a few blocks away, in an area that might not see as much flooding.
Perhaps a parking garage nearby where you can pull into a spot on the second story.
You can even keep some survival gear in your car including food and water.
This way, if things get bad enough in your apartment, and you need to bug out, you’ll have the supplies you need to make it out.
Also, you’ll have a bug-out bag that has enough gear for you to survive for 72 hours in case you are forced to leave your apartment.
When it comes to preparing for a disaster, you don’t need a big house or a lot of property. You can be ready wherever you live.
And don’t forget about storing items under your bed. My family has about 2 years’ worth of survival food and some of it is stored under our bed to save space.