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Apartment Emergencies: How to Handle Evacuation and Sheltering-in-Place Orders

by | Aug 5, 2012 | Renter's Rights, Renting 101 | 0 comments

Apartment emergencies do arise, and in the midst of a crisis it can be easy to let fear take over.  Sometimes your course of action is obvious; if there’s a fire, you need to get out as quickly as possible.  But what about less cut-and-dried emergencies?  About.com helps you keep a cooler head when the unexpected happens.
First of all, don’t panic.  It may be difficult to ascertain how much danger you’re in, but don’t let yourself start imagining the worst.  Stay focused, calm, and try to listen carefully to orders.  Also, take the order seriously and follow instructions exactly.  Don’t assume it is a drill and just because you can’t detect a threat, that doesn’t mean you aren’t in a dangerous situation.
If you are told to evacuate, that means you will most likely need to leave your home until the “all clear” is issued.  Listen to the person who issues the order and to details such as whether you just need to leave the building or if you need to go a certain distance away to insure your safety.  If you have time, take your valuables with you.  However, if the evacuation order is immediate, don’t risk your life by trying to save material objects.
If any of the people who reside in your dwelling have special needs or are disabled, be sure to let the person issuing the orders know so you can get assistance if necessary.  Also, try to find out how long you’ll need to be out of your apartment.  Is it just for a few hours or will you need to contact a friend or loved one to find a place to stay overnight?  There also may be an evacuation center set up nearby depending on the scale of the incident.  If it turns out you’ll need to be out for days, find out if you can return to retrieve medications and other necessary objects.
Sheltering-in-Place orders are issued when the safest thing for you to do is to remain in your apartment.  You also need to recognize that the authorities are telling you to stay put because its the safest place for you and to follow directions exactly.

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