I may be a bit crazy when it comes to tornado season but nevertheless I’m prepared. Growing up in Oklahoma, I’ve experienced my fair share of time in a tornado shelter and witnessed the aftermath and destruction of an F-5 tornado time and time again. To say springtime gives me some anxiety would be an understatement but having a plan in place and a preparedness kit handy gives me a sense of relief during this time. So let me help you create one…
1.) Be weather aware. As Oklahomans, we are lucky enough to have a considerable amount of warning in the event of severe weather. Don’t down play the weathermen, take them seriously and be pro-active.
2.) Have a safety plan. Unfortunately, there are no public shelters in Oklahoma. Therefore, it’s important for you to have a plan in place ahead of time. If you do not have a shelter, make yourself aware of the recommendations for sheltering in place, ask your neighbors, friends and family members if they have a safe place that your family is welcome. Of course you don’t want to be driving in severe weather, so make the plan ahead of time.
3.) Create a tornado preparedness essentials kit. You want to cover all your bases without taking the kitchen sink.
- Items to keep in shelter
- Bottled water (one gallon of water per person for 3 days is the recommended amount)
- Non-perishable food such as trail mix, crackers, canned food and other high protein items
- Handheld can opener & plastic-ware if packing canned food
- Flashlights with extra batteries or better yet the Supernova Orion Survival Rechargeable LED Lantern & Power Bank, which not only provides lighting but also charges your phone!
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust masks
- First aid kit
- 5 gallon bucket & toilet paper ((especially if you have little ones who are potty trained or training)) Reader tip: Cut a pool noodle length-wise and place on the 5-gallon bucket for comfort, which will also hold a trash bag in place for waste!
- Toys or activities for little ones
- Wipes and hand sanitizer
- Items to pack/have ready when a chance of severe weather has been given
- Weather radio or other battery operated radio
- Extra clothes for all family members
- Closed toed shoes or boots
- Jackets and/or blankets
- Wallet with ID, cash and/or check book
- Diapers & wipes
- Bottle or sippy cup
- Can of formula or pump w/ battery pack
- Favorite toy
- Paper and colors
- Pet food and leash
- Charged phone
- USB or hard drive with important photos
- Any sentimental items such as jewelry
- Important documents – best to store in waterproof safe, ziploc bag or other waterproof case
- Copies of home and auto insurance policies with account number, insurers name and phone number, bank and mortgage company information.
- Vital records: birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses etc.
- Certificates/titles for cars, boats, etc.
- Pictures/video each room of house and details for insurance
- Grab and go packet with list of family information such as name, age, DOB and any special needs for each person, other important information such as emergency contact, home, auto, health insurance information and utility information
Free Tornado Grab & Go Packet Printable!
4.) Prepare your shelter. Make sure your shelter is safe, free of water, bugs, snakes and other debris. Install tap lights and/or replace batteries, place essentials kit as well as any other items such as chairs and battery operated fan in shelter.
A few other tips for parents of little ones
- If you have an infant, carry them to the shelter in a wrap or in their carrier. This is not only convenient but is also an extra safety measure.
- If you have more than one young toddler or infant, you can carefully transfer them to the shelter in a sturdy laundry basket.