Most of us would love to have a nice big retreat in the countryside, away from populated areas, that we could set up as a bug out location for when times get rough. But the reality is that many of us still live in small apartments in large metropolitan areas such as New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, or Chicago. So how does an apartment dweller prepare for the stuff hitting the fan? Well, much the same as someone who lives in a house, just on a smaller scale. But here’s a list of some things that apartment dwellers should have on hand in any case, be it just the power going out or something more serious.
1. Multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife
A good solid multi-tool or Swiss Army knife can help fix a multitude of problems. It won’t be a perfect substitute for a toolbox full of quality tools, but for minor repairs around the apartment it can work very well. Most importantly, it takes up a lot less space than a toolbox and can be carried with you in your pocket wherever you go.
2. Duct Tape
Duct tape can be used to fix a whole host of things. From holding broken furniture together, patching cracked window screens, or keeping the bumper on your car, you don’t want to be without a roll of duct tape.
3. Heavy-Duty Plastic Trash Bags
Heavy duty trash bags aren’t just for trash. They have a multitude of uses, such as covering windows if they get knocked out by wind or tree branches, lugging around large bundles of clothes, and keeping supplies dry during a rainstorm.
4. AM/FM Radio with Weather Band
If the power goes out you may not always have access to news and information. An AM/FM radio can keep you informed of what’s going on in the world outside your apartment, without you having to risk your life and health to poke your head outside. A weather band can help you get accurate weather information and forecasts on a more regular basis than a normal radio station.
5. Solar Charger
If you have a smartphone, you might still be able to access the internet across cellular networks, assuming networks are up and your phone is charged. A small solar charger can harness the sun’s energy to keep smartphones, tablets, and other small electronics powered up and usable.
6. Screwdriver or Bit Set
A good set of screwdrivers is a good thing to have. Even better is a screwdriver set with changeable bits. That way you can screw in screws with Phillips, flat, Torx, hex, or Robertson heads. There’s no worse feeling than knowing you could get a screw in or out if you just had the right screwdriver for it, and not having that screwdriver.
7. Water Filter
You may think you can rely on your municipal water supply, but that won’t always be the case. If something happens to the water supply and it becomes unsafe to drink or your city issues a boil order, you’ll want a water filter just to be on the safe side.
8. Water Storage Ability
Most apartments won’t have a lot of space to store weeks worth of water in bottles and jugs. That’s where collapsible bladders come in. They come in all different shapes and sizes, from small 2-5 gallon bladders all the way up to bladders that will fit in your bathtub. As long as the taps are running, you can fill those bladders up and have at least a little bit of water stored away.
9. Candles and Matches/Lighters
If the electricity goes out and you need light in your apartment, you’ll want to have some candles to see where you’re going and what you’re doing. You should have lighters or matches to light the candles and, if you have a gas stove and the gas still runs even when the power is out, you can use the matches to light the burners to cook food.
10. Flashlight and Extra Batteries
Every apartment should have at least one, but preferably two flashlights. You won’t want to keep them running all the time so that you conserve battery life, but they’ll be very helpful in finding things in dark corners and in evacuating through darkened hallways and stairwells should that become necessary.