10 Must Haves In Your Family Tornado Survival Kit}

10 Must-Haves in Your Family Tornado Survival Kit


Jim Porterfield

When the tornado warning sirens sound you want to “Be Prepared,” because you won’t have time to “Get Prepared.” You will want to have your tornado survival preparations and supplies all done and gathered in advance so you can head straight for your shelter.

The most important thing you can do in advance of a tornado is to identify where you will wait out the storm. When you have identified the safest place in your home, put together a “twister kit” that you can store right there. If you have a basic tornado bag stored in your safe place you won’t have to take precious time gathering necessary supplies before you take cover. This could save your life if a fast-moving tornado is headed in your direction.

If you have one, a backpack makes an excellent container for your emergency supplies. If you don’t have a backpack, a nylon duffel with sturdy handles will work.

What You Should Pack in Your Tornado Survival Kit

1. Light. If a tornado strikes you should count on losing electricity. Waiting out a storm in a pitch black room is much more frightening, especially for children. In the aftermath, even if your home is untouched, you might find yourself without power. You will need light.

Pack a flashlight for each member of the family. Store the batteries separately in sealed plastic bags so they will be fresh when you need them. Throw in a few bendable light sticks, which can glow for hours, and you will have illumination when and where you need it. Stock up on these at Halloween. They can sometimes be hard to find at other times of the year.

If your home or neighborhood has been struck you should assume that gas lines have been broken. It is not safe to use anything powered by a flame for light or heat. Avoid candles or lanterns.

2. A small portable emergency weather radio. You may not be able to hear storm warnings in your safe room, and you will certainly want to know when the danger has passed. Store batteries separately. A crank emergency weather radio that doesn’t require any other power source is always a good choice.

3. Blankets for warmth and protection from flying glass and debris. Pack one or two blankets large enough to cover everyone.

4. Water. One or two small bottles of water for each person. Avoid large gallon containers as they are too hard to pack and too heavy to carry. Smaller bottles can be tucked into nooks and crannies in your backpack or tote. If you have pets, pack one additional bottle of water for each along with a small collapsible cup they can drink from.

5. Emergency food. You will want enough food to keep you and your loved ones going for 24 hours. Granola bars, crackers, peanut butter, dried fruit, cookies, hard candy, and don’t forget bottles and formula if you have a baby. Throw in a foil packet of pet food for each animal. Avoid canned goods as they are heavy. In an emergency you should be more interested in concentrated calories and energy than with vitamins and a balanced diet.

6. A mini first aid kit with several sizes of adhesive bandages, gauze pads, a long roll of gauze, antibacterial ointment and a small bottle of over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).

7. A quality all-in-one tool that has a screwdriver, pliers, a wire cutter and a sharp blade.

8. An old pair of shoes for each member of the family. If you are awakened in the middle of the night you may not have time to look for and put on shoes. If your home is struck, you do not want to walk through debris without foot protection.

9. A lightweight water-resistant windbreaker with a hood for each family member. Tornadoes are almost always accompanied by heavy rain. If your shelter is breached you will want rain protection that will also help to keep you warm.

10. A very loud whistle. Should your home be seriously damaged, blowing a loud whistle will help alert rescue workers to your location.

Store your emergency tornado bag in your safe area in such a way that you can locate it quickly and easily in the dark. Next to your bag store a fire extinguisher that you know how to use. Fires are a high risk after a tornado because of ruptured gas lines. You do not want to be trapped in a safe room without the means to extinguish a fire.

If you hear the “take cover” warning, grab your children, your pets, and your cell phone in that order, and take cover in your safe area until you know that it is definitely safe to come out. Do not make the mistake of going outside or to a window to see if the warning is “real.”

When you live in hurricane or tornado country you always want to be prepared with a reliable

portable weather radio

. If you can only choose one, make it a

crank radio

so it will work without a power source or batteries. The easiest place to start your search for the best weather radio is always at http://portableweatherradio.net

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10 Must-Haves in Your Family Tornado Survival Kit }