Here’s What Should Be In Your Tornado Survival Kit
After the frozen events of last month we're reminded that severe weather comes in many forms, and that being prepared for these events is largely up to us.
Now we learn that this year's spring storm season may rival that of 2011. So, what should we have in our emergency kit? I found a great list from EMSA, The Emergency Medical Services Authority in Oklahoma.
The first thing they recommend is a three day supply of water for each member of your household. Remember, you'll be consuming some of it and using some of it for washing up, so you'll probably need more than you realize.
Second, a complete First Aid kit. Sure you've got band-aids and such in your medicine cabinet, but those items may not be available in a weather related emergency. Make sure your kit has some sort of antiseptic solution along with a good supply of bandages, and a supply of all current medications. Other than medications, ready to go First Aid kits are available from many sources, just choose the one that fits your family size.
Next, you'll need some food. Canned items store easily, don't require refrigeration, and can usually just be heated up and eaten. If your cans don't have pull tabs you'll also need a can opener. Oh, you'll want some silverware too. In addition to the food you'll want some sort of burner to heat them on. A lot of survival food packages come with these, simple camp stoves will handle this job as well. In fact, a lot of what should be in your Tornado Survival Kit is basic camping gear.
Now that we have water, First Aid, and food covered it's time to move on to some of the more fun stuff. Gadgets. In a weather related emergency you won't be able to switch on the lights like we're all accustomed to so make sure you've got a good flashlight for every person in your family. Battery flashlights are OK as long as you've got plenty of batteries, you never know how long the power will be out.
Remember, if the power goes out to the city you won't have access to television for situational updates, but a lot of radio stations will still be on the air and passing along the latest information so make sure you've got a decent transistor radio in your kit. Some combination radio and flashlight units can even be recharged with built in solar cells or small cranks on the side. In addition to radios or flashlights that can recharge in the sunlight there are several different styles of solar powered units that can recharge anything from your cell phone to your laptop computer.
Each person's kit should also include a good blanket or sleeping bag and a complete change of clothing including footwear. Which brings me to another point, if you have to make a dash to your safe place in the middle of the night make sure everyone brings shoes. If your home is damaged by strong winds or a tornado there will be lots of debris and sharp objects on the ground and the last thing you need to do is to try to walk across it barefoot in the dark.
If you do need to make a dash to your safe room remember to bring your cell phone with you. If you're already signed up with services like CodeRED you'll get updated information as new alerts and warnings are issued. It will also let you let people know you're OK once the storm has passed.
Your overall kit should also include copies of important documents, a spare set of car keys, a credit card, and written instructions on how to turn off the electricity, gas, and water to your home if authorities advise.
Once you've gathered up all of these items they should be stored together in one or two large water-resistant containers in your safe room. With the potential for severe weather in our forecast later this week, now would be a great time to start working on your family's kit.
Hopefully, the only time you'll open it is to check and refresh it from time to time, but if you ever do need it, that kit you worked so hard on will be ready to help you and your family get through the storm.