A tornado shelter won't do you any good if it's not stocked with the right supplies.
After all, a shelter doesn't just protect you from wind and debris. Depending on the damage of the storm, you might not be able to return to your home right away. You need to make sure your shelter has the necessary supplies you'll need to survive without your house for a time.
Keep reading to learn about the five most important items to keep in your storm shelter.
1. Food and Water
The most important thing to remember when preparing your storm shelter is you don't know how long you could be down there. You should store at least seven days worth of food and water for every family member in the shelter.
This food should be shelf stable and contain enough protein to keep your energy levels up. Here are a few good examples:
- Canned soup
- Canned chicken and fish
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Peanut butter
- Protein bars or granola bars
- Trail mix and other nuts
- Beef jerky
- Baby food, formula, and bottles
- Disposable utensils, bowls, cups, and plates
- Pet food
You can also store some candy or treats in your shelter, especially if you have kids. This can make them feel comfortable, and if it is long lasting candy, can give them something to do.
2. Change of Clothes
You don't know what kind of conditions the rest of your house will be in when you get back out of your shelter. You might not be able to return to your home right away. So store extra clothes for everyone in the family.
This should include things like warm clothes, underwear, socks, close-toed shoes or boots, work gloves, ponchos, and bike helmets to protect from falling debris.
It's always better to put these things in your shelter in advance. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you don't want to try to gather it all on your way down.
3. Important Paper
Keep your important papers in one place, like a firebox or accordion folder. If you have to go to your tornado shelter, make sure you bring these documents with you. This will prevent you from losing the necessary documents.
You should include papers like medical information, baking information, insurance documents, your home deed, tax information, birth certificates, social security cards, and anything else you want to keep safe.
4. First Aid Kit and Sanitation Supplies
It's a good idea to keep a first aid kit with your in your tornado shelter. Should someone get an injury or an illness, you'll have the basic supplies to treat them. You'll want this first aid kit to contain adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, antibacterial wipes, over-the-counter pain medication, tweezers, thermometer, instant cold compress, ace bandages, compress dressing, etc.
You should also have hygiene supplies on hand in case you have to stay in the shelter for a long time. Make sure you have hand sanitizer, a bucket, trash bags, toilet paper, and diapers if necessary.
5. Camping Supplies
Basic camping supplies will help make you more comfortable in your tornado shelter, but it can also come in handy once you get out. Remember, you might not be able to return to your house for a long time.
Bring sleeping bags, tents or tarps, flashlights and lanterns, extra batteries, matches, weather radio, cash, blankets, pillows, cell phone chargers, rope, and duct tape.
These supplies can make your life a lot easier if you have to use them.
Things You Should Keep in Your Tornado Shelter
You might not ever have to use these items, but if you do, you'll be grateful they're all there. You should also go through your emergency shelter supplies once a year to make sure the food isn't expired or the batteries in the flashlights still work.
Don't have a tornado shelter installed on your property yet? Take a look at some of these options.