April and May are two of our most active months for severe weather in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. With the threat of severe weather in our forecast again for later this week now would be a great time to check on the readiness of your emergency kit.

According to Ready.gov there are a few basic things that every kit should contain at a bare minimum. You should have enough food and water to sustain everyone in your household for three days. That's figuring that by the end of three days either services will be restored or the Red Cross will have arrived with supplies to help you out. If you have canned food make sure that it either has a pull tab or you have a manual can opener.

You should also have a battery powered or hand-cranked radio. In major catastrophes it can be several days before television stations are back on the air and you have power to your home to tune them in. Our radio stations have an emergency generator and even if the power went off for the entire community we'll still be here, on the air, passing along vital information. Along with your radio you should also have a good flashlight or two and plenty of extra batteries. The light on your phone will do for really short periods but they tend to eat up battery power and you may need your phone for other important tasks.

Speaking of your phone, you should also have a charger and external battery pack already charged up. If the power stays off for more than a day you'll need that extra juice just to let people know you're OK or to call for help.

Other good items to have in your kit are some basic tools like an adjustable wrench and pliers. Multi-tools can combine many functions into one small device and come in handy for several occasions. Mine stays in my day to day backpack and gets used frequently.

Other things to keep in mind are any kind of medications or prescriptions that anyone in your home is taking and keep a supply of those in your kit. Remember to rotate them through as some have quicker expiration dates than others.

Once your kit is assembled you'll want to keep it in a designated location and make sure that everyone knows where it is.

Something that someone else pointed out to me recently was that if you do have to scramble into your safe room in the middle of the night make sure everyone brings shoes. Think about it. If your home is destroyed by a tornado and you emerge from your shelter safely, the last thing you'll want to do is climb around on the rubble, broken boards, glass, and nails in bare feet, trying to find some shoes to put on.

We all hope to never need to reach for our emergency kits just to survive, but it's good to know they're there if we ever do need them. You can see the official Ready.gov recommendations and even download a pdf supplies list here.