Born and raised in Kansas, I’ve learned that tornadoes are a part of life in the Midwest. And even though I’ve experienced many, many tornado warnings in my lifetime, they still scare me each and every time.
After getting married and starting a family in the great state of Oklahoma, tornado season has gotten scarier and scarier for me. Actually, being a mom has done that to me. Things terrify me a lot more now that I have two little ones. I don’t just see monkey bars. I see broken arms. I don’t just see sticks. I see major flesh wounds. And I don’t just see tornadoes. Unfortunately, I see tragedy. Don’t get me wrong, I still let my kids be kids and experience life at the playground and in the backyard, but I want to know that I can protect them as best as I can. That’s why ever since we’ve had kids, I’ve tried to convince my husband that we need to get a storm shelter installed. I’m still not used to the no basement way of life here!
Last year was a rough year for tornadoes in the OKC area and after that, we decided it was time to take the plunge. Once our decision had been made, we were on a waiting list for four months before we were finally able to get our shelter installed. As we are now entering severe weather season for the first time with an underground storm shelter, I’ve worked on putting together items to keep ready in a worse case scenario.
Here is what I have inside of our shelter:
- Water and snacks: protein bars, peanut butter crackers, beef jerky, dried fruit. Make sure you check the expiration dates of your food so that you can switch them out as necessary.
- 2 Flashlights with new batteries.
- 5 gallon bucket, roll of toilet paper, and wet wipes. Because I have a feeling that the moment we get in our storm shelter, one of my girls will inevitably need to use the potty.
- First aid essentials: antibacterial wipes, gauze, antibiotic ointment, band-aids, sports tape, pain medicine, and allergy medicine.
And each time that the weather begins to look grim, I’ll be putting the following items in a bag to take down with us as well:
- Sturdy shoes and extra clothes for all family members
- Cell Phone Chargers
Not everybody has a storm shelter, but there are some things that you can do in case of severe weather:
- Stay alert to the weather conditions.
- Protect yourself with sturdy shoes, a bicycle helmet, and/or a mattress.
- Go to the center of the building you are in. Stay away from outside walls and windows.
For more tornado safety information, please visit http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes.
How do you prepare for severe weather?