Apartment living

Through a part-time job that I have been doing, I had the opportunity to walk through a number of lived-in apartments the other day. What I saw did not shock me, but it does warrant me writing about it. Most people’s apartments were pretty clean and straightened up, however, there were a couple that left a lot to be desired. Apartment living consists of multiple families living under one roof. People choose to live in apartments for many different reasons, but you must be aware that how your neighbors live could directly affect you.

Cooking related fires are the leading cause of residential fires in America. In one apartment that I walked through, the people were cooking. The problem was that there was not an inch of space on any counter top or table in that kitchen. The clutter was so great that it had encroached on the stovetop. What I observed was not whether or not a fire will occur, but when a fire will occur. When possibility and probability are both high, it is only a matter of time before something will go wrong.

Some of you live in a second, third or fourth floor apartment. What is your plan of escape if the primary means of egress is blocked? Are you ready to escape via a window, if necessary? Do you have a rescue ladder? If so, do you know how to deploy it? A rescue ladder can be scary, if you do not know how it feels when you are on it. Practicing with a rescue ladder consists of deploying it from an upper floor window and then going outside and climbing it from the ground up. Without a rescue ladder, you must either hang and drop from a windowsill, or you must await someone throwing a ladder to your window.

Based on this discussion, I am going to remind each of you that live in apartments the dire necessity for you to have renter’s insurance on all of your possessions. Most renter insurance plans are very inexpensive for what they cover. I remember responding to an apartment fire once, where the people in the fire apartment had renter’s insurance, but the neighbor who was in the military did not. The neighbor was not even home when all of his belongings were destroyed in a fire that was caused by another person’s carelessness. Bottom line, if you live in a rented property and do not have renter’s insurance – get it right away.

Then there was the apartment that had been taken over by the animals. Owning pets is one thing, but when pets are allowed to defecate and urinate in a living space, that constitutes a health problem. Over the course of my career, I encountered many homes where irresponsible pet owners had allowed unhealthy living conditions to occur because of animals. In an apartment setting, the health problem becomes your neighbors as much as it is yours.

Apartment living is a way of life for many people. The problem with apartment living is that you cannot choose your neighbors, whether they live beside you, below you or above you. You have to trust that your neighbors are responsible, but I would not bank on that. Do all that you can to be a good apartment resident. Keep your apartment clean and livable. Keep in mind that when your lifestyle negatively affects the lives of your neighbors, then that constitutes a significant problem.   

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