This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Nearly a year ago when the Fukushima earthquake occurred last March I recall many apartment dwellers in Tokyo highrises posted videos about the experience. Many of them indicated they did not have much food or water at all in their apartments, as they went out to eat all the time. Some even showed empty refrigerators with nothing but a bottle of soda or a jar of pickles. I would hope that more people have started to prepare since then. While most of our articles discuss family preparedness, we’d like to offer tips for apartment dwellers who live by themselves and would like to get started in preparedness.
Once you decide to prepare, don’t hesitate or feel intimidated, just do it. Let’s aim for a week’s worth of supplies to start. You can do one step per week, or if you budget allows, cover a couple of steps every paycheck. Some steps don’t involve spending, just a time commitment.
1. When you go to the supermarket this weekend, pick up seven gallons of bottled water. Now you have enough drinking water for a week. Fill up clean soda bottles with water for additional drinking water or for washing purposes.
2. If your budget allows, buy an extra box of cereal (breakfast) a box of ramen noodles (if you like ramen), canned tuna, canned chicken, vegetables and fruit. Make sure you keep a can opener with your canned goods. Pick up a box of crackers, peanut butter and jelly. These foods are just examples of items that keep well. Keep these items in a small box and set it aside as your emergency stash.
Now that you have water and food covered, you can move on to other emergency supplies.
3. Pick up a small first aid kit, as well as extras for personal medication such as asthma inhalers, allergy medicines etc.
4. Buy extra toilet paper, toothpaste, toiletries, large trash bags, paper plates and cups. When water is shut off, you will use paper plates and cups to avoid washing dishes.
5. For lighting, pick up flashlights and batteries, tap lights and/or a camp lantern.
6. For communication, make sure your cell phone is always charged. You’ll also want a battery operated or crank radio.
7. Set aside extra cash in your apartment for emergencies. Start by hiding away $20 now, then add to your cash stash next paycheck.
8. Because you are living singly, you must be even more vigilant about your security. Know all the entrances and exits to your building. If you live in a highrise, know exactly where the stairwell is located and where it leads to. Some stairwells doors are locked and you would not want to get stuck in an emergency. Keep you blinds or curtains closed at all times, and pay attention to your surroundings when arriving or leaving a location. Have a way to protect yourself such as a gun, stun gun or pepper spray and know how to use it. Take a self defense class. Some employers even sponsor safety classes during lunch -take advantage of these opportunities.
9. Backup your documents. Set aside one weekend to gather your important documents: birth certificate, financial documents, insurance information, lease, social security card and make copies or scan them into a flash drive.
10. If you have family nearby, create an emergency plan with them. You may want to stay with family during a foreseeable emergency such as hurricane or ice storm.
For security purposes, be selective on sharing information about your supplies. See if you can find like-minded friends who are interested in preparedness, whom you can trust. You will have to bring this up in a tactful manner as not everyone sees eye to eye regarding preparedness – most co-workers and acquaintances would rather talk about shopping for the latest makeup or fashion and would scoff at accumulating emergency supplies. However there are others who are interested in emergency preparedness, it’s just a matter of finding them: perhaps others at the self defense or a first aid/CPR class would be so inclined.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for our single readers. I know that once you make up your mind to prepare, you feel there is so much to do but so little time. This list is not complete by any means, just a way to get started as quickly as possible. Once you have at least a week’s worth of supplies, continue your efforts as space and budget allow until you are comfortable with what you have. Happy prepping!