In the wake of Harvey & Irma, the two deadly hurricanes that have been wreaking havoc across the U.S., it makes it only necessary that people around the world take a moment to realise that disaster can come your way anytime. If you live in an apartment complex, you have the opportunity now to bring all the residents together and organize a drill and other safety precautions so that you are prepared for all kinds of perils.
Given that hurricanes are the current most feared peril, here are some things you can do to prepare yourself for such a disaster.
1. Basic Personal Safety Precautions
Personal safety comes first. Put together an emergency kit with the following supplies:
- Energy bars, bottled water, emergency medicines, band-aids, rope, cotton & matches.
- Extra clothes, petty cash, flashlights, batteries, power banks for your phones
The general rule is that you pack enough for three days, which is typically the time it takes for rescue missions to successfully start the relief work. Once you have the supplies together, place that bag in an easily accessible place, somewhere you can easily grab things from when you are running for your life.
If you have pets, please do not leave them behind or overlook their safety totally. Plan ahead for their well-being as well. Ideally, in the event of an evacuation, this bag alone should be the only thing you unfailingly carry with you.
2. Safety Inside The Apartment
Tornadoes & hurricanes usually take a few hours to develop. Officials at the meteorological department are constantly on the lookout for brewing storms and other natural disasters. If there is even the slightest chance of a hurricane, they will raise an alarm. This is your time to prepare for the worst.
Keep the following in mind –
- If a hurricane warning has been issued, people dwelling in high rises must immediately stay away from windows & upper floors.
- If an evacuation notice has been issued, EVACUATE. Do not think that you can stay inside and wait the storm out. A million things could go wrong and it might even become difficult for rescue officials to reach you.
- If you do get stuck in your apartment, ensure that you are away from windows and doors. Stay in a central and secluded spot. Bathrooms would be a good choice. Keep your emergency kit with you.
3. Building Safety
Hurricane prone areas typically have Govt. mandated building and construction guidelines. While you may not be able to prevent a building from collapsing, you may be able to limit the damage to a great extent by ensuring that the construction pays attention to certain factors.
- Well anchored roofs. In the event of strong winds, the roofs when moved by the wind will exert negative pressure on the foundation. This could sometimes lift the entire structure off the ground.
- Ample spacing between each block. This is to limit damage to surrounding buildings should one collapse or crumble.
- Use good quality construction materials that will withstand some amount of trials.
- Shatter-proof glass in the windows and sliders help. Or at least they minimise the secondary hazards.
A Well-Connected Community Could Save Your Life
If your builder is reputable and has religiously adhered to the regulations to be followed in that particular area, half the job is done. But we need to understand that despite the best efforts, even the strongest of buildings may succumb to nature’s forces. In such times, timely communication and the residents themselves coming together to help each other is what saves lives.
Having platforms like ADDA help immensely. If you still have access to the internet, you can communicate with others and prepare yourselves better if a hazard warning has been sounded. Or if the peril has struck and you need help, connecting with fellow residents often helps immensely.
This article is being in mid-September, 2017. Hurricane Irma is still wreaking havoc across Florida. We sincerely hope that no more lives will be taken and that this difficult time would pass soon.
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