Prepare your Apartment for Hurricane Irene

Author: Rachel P.
Published: August 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Hurricane Irene already hit North Carolina and it's barreling up the East Coast. Despite it being weakened to a Category 1 hurricane, the extensive damage caused includes currently leaving thousands without electricity.

Affected residents at this stage (12:15 pm) are more than likely not reading this or in their last minute preparations and looking for quick advice beyond the basic precautions as Irene approaches.


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You still might feel slightly anxious if you're living in a rented apartment/house and not required to evacuate. After all, your windows are more than likely not boarded up. Your means of transportation might be bleak or diminished, especially with planned road blocks for evacuation routes and public transportation delays or a complete shutdown (as the case is in New York City)

However, there are still several overlooked, practical steps to take that will help you and your loved ones stay relatively secure and comfortable over the next few days:

  •  Keep water bottles and containers of various sizes in your refrigerator, including the freezer. Many sources state this will ensure yourself an adequate water supply, but doing so will also help keep your refrigerator and perishable goods stay fresh longer if your power goes out.
  • Your lease and rental insurance paperwork are considered important documents. Sure, your landlord and perhaps building superintendent have at least the lease copies, but do you want to trust that they have proper storage planned for natural disasters?
  • Know where your evacuation centers and routes are and print out the information while your printer still works. Store it in a plastic bag too. 
  • Wash the fruit and vegetables you plan on eating. This will give you an advantage in the event that your water supply is cut or contaminated. Keep fruit that do not need refrigeration stored in a dry place away from windows; they will be within easy reach and already clean to eat. Also, you won't have to open your refrigerator door as often.
  • Consider eating canned and dry foods that do not require cooking. If you still want a warm, home-cooked meal, but your stove is by a window, cook quickly now and store it in a microwavable container for later. You will have a decent dinner, provided that your electricity works which can do wonders psychologically when you're waiting out the storm.
  • Apartments may be small and as many tenants look around, they might see that almost every room contains a window. Reinforce them as best you can, including the A/C units. Have towels on hand if they are prone to leak during regular rain storms. Move furniture you plan on using away from these areas so you have a safe place to sit and sleep.
  • Do not rely on your central air, A/C, or fans to work. Take advantage of it now; set the thermostat low in the room you're going to be spending most of your time and keep the door closed.
  • Wash the dishes or run the dishwasher one more time. Consider using disposable utensils until Irene blows over.
  • Bag up your trash and throw it away if you don't live in a building with an accessible garbage chute. You do not want that lingering around if you can't get rid of it for a few days.
  • Last call for your final load of laundry. If you use a local laundromat, don't leave for the sake of this task. You can always hand wash dirty clothes.
  • Take a shower before you fill up your bathtub with water. You don't want to bathe in the middle of the hurricane. Your bathroom may be small and near a window.
  • Note the emergency exits in your building. Plan on being able to leave without using an elevator.
  • Ask your superintendent if the apartment building has a back-up generator. Charge your electronic gadgets and communication devices while the electricity works. Pack the chargers in your emergency "Go Bag."
  • Keep matches, lighters, candles, and fire extinguisher away from windows.
  • Move electronic devices away from the windows and pick them up off the floor.
  • Stake out a last resort, safe spot in your apartment, away from windows. Discuss this area and other emergency plans with your household members.
Best wishes for a safe weekend! If you have any other ideas, comment below.


About this article

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Article Author: Rachel P.

Rae is a writer and counselor who endeavors to learn from every experience without regret. She holds a Master of Arts and Professional degree in Counseling and B.A. in Developmental Psychology and Philosophy.

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