I had been living in NYC for four months when Hurricane Sandy hit. I remember calling my parents crying, terrified of what could happen based on all the storm warnings blowing up our phones and crossing our news feeds. I had grown up in Western Montana, where a small earthquake may strike every few years. I had never experienced a natural disaster of the Sandy magnitude first hand. And to be completely serious, I had also never experienced my phone obnoxiously going off with storm alerts before. That horrifying sound alone is enough to make my heart jump.
The term “safety” can seem boring. The older I get, though, the more I appreciate having a plan in order in regards to my living situation. You’ve heard a variation or other of “It always seems like it’s never going to happen to you until it does,” right? While it may be cliche, it’s certainly true. You never know when a disaster may strike, and being prepared will pay off.
When you rent from Bedly, you’re ensuring your safety, too. All Bedly units are required to have renter’s insurance. Renters insurance is one of the simplest things you can do to protect yourself and your belongings. Not to mention it’s typically a cheap addition to your monthly bills. You can find it at all major insurance companies, too, like Progressive, USAA, and State Farm.
Bedly also requires that all tenants undergo a background check. This is to make sure that you and your roommates are living with other awesome, safe humans such as yourself, so that you can navigate the perfect roommateship! And if you ever feel uncomfortable or questionable of a living situation, the amazingly helpful Bedly team is just a phone call away, more than happy to relocate you to another unit. What can I say, Bedly looks out for its tenants!
My friends and I speculated what could happen when Hurricane Sandy hit. We mulled over our options. We thought we could possibly leave Manhattan and head to our friend’s hometown in Connecticut so we wouldn’t be stuck on the island. Our teachers in school told us not to worry, and that it wouldn’t be a big deal. After reading news briefs and recommendations, my roommate and I decided to stay.
According to DoSomething.org, Sandy resulted in at least 125 deaths and caused over $65 billion in damage in the United States alone. At the height of the storm, over 7.5 million people were left without power. I was living on the Upper West Side, and the power only flickered off once. We heard the wind blowing and rain hitting the building all day and night, however being that we were higher on the hill, we didn’t see the flooding that Times Square did or experience the power loss that much of NYC and New Jersey did. We were very lucky in comparison to those millions who lost power and thousands who lost their homes.
It’s easy to ignore, but it is so important to be realistic. We are all familiar with those advertisements warning New Yorkers about not having the proper safety procedures in place in the event of a natural disaster. And while I’m certainly guilty of bypassing them on the street, the message should be taken seriously: taking the simple steps to talk about the potential for a disaster and securing your safety in your apartment could save lives. If you lease from Bedly, we know you’re all about the housing hacks, so following the below steps should be a no-brainer!
Know your fire escapes. Yes, there are outdoor fire escapes in many New York buildings. These ceased to be required in apartments, however, in 1968. Now you’ll find interior stairs to use in the event of a fire. Make sure to check out your building and understand all the exits, which one is closest to you, and where you would end up.
Have your landlord on speed dial. This comes in handy in any kind of emergency, big or small, and you don’t want to be searching through old texts or emails to find the contact information. Rent from Bedly? According to their mission, they are “relentlessly focused on making housing as seamless as possible and deliver(ing) an amazing customer experience to as many people as possible because that’s the future we all want to live in.” Know what that means? They have an extremely friendly customer service team that you can reach out to with any questions you may have. And I promise they won’t screen your calls like the questionably shady landlord might…
Make sure all electronics are charged and have extra batteries on hand. When a storm is looming, be sure that you have that oversized flashlight (or two) handy along with backup batteries. Any battery operated light is a plus. You’ll also want to have all electronics consistently charging in the event of power loss. Ya know, so you can update your parents halfway across the country on your status.
Have a group meeting place in the event of a disaster. When I lived on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, my roommates and I ended up talking about what we would do if something like 9/11 ever happened while we lived there. I had heard personal experiences from people like my boss, who walked from Midtown up to her home in the Bronx, unable to get ahold of her sister who had her two babies because cell phones weren’t working. This prompted me to implement a meeting place for my roommates in case anything ever happened, and that meeting place was Randalls Island. Our goal was simple: to get off the island (Manhattan) and make sure we could find each other if cell phones were out of commission.
Install the second personal lock. Most apartments either have one already or suggest that you install a second personal lock. This is typically a deadbolt but is a lock that you control from the inside, and only you (and roommates) have a key to.
Have a personal safe. Okay, so this one may sound a little extreme at first, but if you have anything extremely valuable (ex. jewelry, the family heirloom, etc.), then it may be worth locking up. You can find affordable safes at Target for as low as $10.79 with a lock and key. If you prefer a safe that requires a code, they start around $55.
Stock up on non-perishables (or have some handy at all times). I remember the packs that I was required to bring to my elementary school on the first day of class. They included a blanket, wet wipes, and a ton of other things like a toothbrush and non-perishable food items. I never really understood why we were required to supply our teacher with a personal survival pack, but it makes sense to me now. The day before Sandy hit, my roommate and I ventured out to stock up on food from Trader Joes. The line wrapped around the entire block. By the time we got inside, many of the shelves were bare. We were able to grab boxes of cereal, crackers, jars of peanut butter, a case each of bottled water, popcorn, and other tasty treats to hold us over. Had we experienced the mass power outages that much of the east coast did, I’m not sure what we had purchased would have held us over. That said, it’s smart to have some supplies handy ahead of time.
“Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Beyond corny, scarily true. Set yourself up for success by coming up with a plan to secure your safety! In a city of over 8.5 million people, Bedly wants to make sure you stay safe. They take the necessary precautions when leasing their units, and it’s up to you to take control of the rest.
Photo credits in order of appearance: Better Meme, Pinterest, Quick Meme, Rbrn, Know Your Meme, Green Locksmith in San Diego, Me.Me