Many people ask, “What can we do to prepare for tornado season?” Besides having a safety plan in place, there are other things you can do to prepare for the worst.
- Create an emergency kit geared towards the needs of you and your family. Use a sealable plastic container to hold items such as bottled waters, a flashlight, small blankets, car charger for your cell phone, spare keys to your car and/or home, first aid kit, snack items, a small radio with some extra batteries, and any medicines or items that are vital to your family’s needs. An emergency kit varies, and you can add to or take away from the items listed. Be sure to place the emergency kit either inside your storm shelter, or any place closest to where you seek shelter during a tornado such as a hall closet or bathroom cabinet.
- Place other items such as spare tennis shoes per person and bicycle helmets in your storm shelter or near where you will be seeking shelter per your safety plan. Most often in tornadoes, fatal head injuries occur due to flying debris and a bicycle helmet can help protect against that possibility. The extra tennis shoes are great for when you don’t have time to put your shoes on when running for shelter.
- Store important documents such as life insurance, birth certificates, and marriage certificates in your storm shelter or near your safety kit. It is also important to keep copies of current bills so that in the even your home is wiped out, you have proof of residency for insurance purposes and other authorities. It is best to place these items in a waterproof container.
- Don’t forget your pets. When a tornado comes through, family pets, when not protected, have a higher chance of being displaced than a pet who has been brought into the family storm shelter or leashed and taken to a safer place with you. Keeping food and extra water for your pet will also be helpful in the event you need to be sheltered for more than a few minutes.
- Finally, make sure everyone in your safety plan is aware of your emergency kit, the helmets, spare shoes, and the documents location. Should your home or neighborhood be devastated, having some of the essentials will help make survival a little less stressful.
Just remember, there are no right or wrong ways to prepare for a tornado except to not prepare at all. Your family is worth it. You are with it. And the peace of mind you have will be worth it, too.