Tornado season has started in my part of the country. After having been through two losses to record breaking tornadoes, I thought I would use my experience to share what you need should a tornado go through your area. **Please note that I am not an expert, these are just suggestions based on my experience.
First and foremost, you need a storm shelter. An underground storm shelter is my number one recommendation. A safe room is the next best thing (I’ve yet to see one destroyed by a tornado) but my personal preference is to be underground. If you do not have a storm shelter or a safe room, try to find a neighbor or a place that does have one you can use if needed and if you still do not have access to a shelter, make sure to go to a closet or bathtub in the interior part of your house. Preferably with no windows. DO NOT stay in a mobile home (our very first home was a mobile home and there was absolutely nothing left of it after a tornado).
Before the Storm
Before storm season begins, it’s best to clean out your shelter (if it’s outdoors) and get it ready. Sweep and/or vacuum it out and spray for bugs (specifically spiders).
Once the shelter is clean and bug free, make sure you have comfortable seating and something to store the following for the remainder of the season:
- Extra batteries
- A radio or something that will allow you to get weather updates
- Bottled Water
If a Tornado is Coming
If the forecast includes the possibility of severe weather, including tornadoes, I highly recommend that you put together what we like to call a “Go Bag”. The Go Bag should include things you will need during and possible after a storm.
First, you need to make sure you are dressed properly. Be sure to wear pants, long sleeves (or a t-shirt and jacket) and closed toe shoes (DO NOT WEAR FLIP FLOPS or SANDALS).
Our go bags are prepared the day of a predicted bad weather day and kept by the back door that goes to our storm shelter. I usually pack as if I’m going on an overnight trip. This is because if your home does get damaged or you have no power, you have everything you need if you have to stay somewhere else.
- Helmets – to protect your head from hail and/or flying debris
- Medication – be sure to take with you any medication you take on a daily basis…especially prescriptions
- First Aid Kit – just in case
- Toiletries & personal items – Basic toiletries that you can’t live without for a day or two (contacts & contact solution, glasses, hair tools, etc.). Don’t forget diapers, formula and other baby/toddler items such as lovies, blankets, etc.
- Extra clothing – An extra outfit, pj’s, undergarments, socks & maybe an extra pair of shoes (you can pack your flip flops) for each family member.
- Phones & Tablets – make sure to also take extra chargers & cords for outlets and your car. Often times, the power is out and there’s no where to charge your phones. In this case, if you can get to your car, you can charge your phones & tablets there.
- Activity Bags for kids – your kids are going to be anxious so anything you can have on hand to keep them busy and take their minds off of what is going on outside is a must.
So those are the basics but here are a few other things most people don’t think about…
- Contact info of your insurance agent along with a copy of your policy
- Cash – if your area gets hit, any retailers are likely to have their credit card machines down so have some cash on hand just in case.
- Important Paper documents – birth certificates, social security cards, etc. (These documents should be stored in a fire box all year round.
- THIS ONE IS VERY IMPORTANT – External Backup drive of everything on your computer/home network. If you are not backing up your data, photos, etc START NOW! (Says the wife of a Systems Analyst)
This is everything I can think of to help you be prepared. If you have anything to add or have any questions, PLEASE comment below or email me. I want to use my experience to help others and this is the best way I know how.
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