Last night we had our first thunderstorm of the season. While it was not too severe, it was a reminder that we are in the high season for potential severe weather. If you live in any of these parts of the country where tornadoes tend to be more common place, then you need to make sure to take steps to be prepared.
The safest place to go during a tornado is your basement, however, many people do not live in a home where this is an option. In that case, make sure you go into a center hallway, closet, bathroom or even under a staircase. If you reside in a mobile home, you need to get out and seek other shelter as that is one of the least safe places you can be during a storm.
Before any storm hits (or even fire or anything to destroy where you live), make sure you take photos of each and every room in your house. I would recommend you upload them to a cloud service, such as DropBox (you can get a free account). This way, you don’t have to worry that the photos were on a computer which was destroyed. You could also put them onto a flash drive and keep that in your disaster kit. (Thanks Tricia for this tip!)
Not only should you seek shelter, you should also always have a disaster kit handy. Making one should cost you $50 or less – but that is $50 that might just help keep you safe should the unthinkable happen.
- Bucket or Plastic container with a lid (for ease in transporting items)
- First Aid Kit
- Batter powered weather radio or regular radio — make sure to include extra batteries
- Flashlight — include extra batteries
- One blanket or sleeping bag per person
- Spare car keys
- Current prescription meds
- 3 day supply of water, which is around 1 gallon per person, per day (5 family members = 15 gallons)
- Non perishable foods. (Make sure you include a can opener if you include canned items)
- Cash (in case you can’t get to the bank for any reason)
- At least one change of clothes and footwear for each person (remember you may head down in your pajamas)
- Cards or small games (to keep kids entertained if necessary)
- Copies of important documents (for proof of identity – as you probably won’t grab your wallet – and possibly even residence)
During this time of the year, it is important to keep your cell phone fully charged as much as possible. Make sure you take that with you to your shelter – so you can try to call out should you need assistance (hoping that cell signals still are working at that time). If you can, try to also grab that special blanket or toy for your child, to keep help keep them calm.
This may seem like an extreme list, but when you see first hand what happens to people, you quickly realize how important these items can be. You can keep items in a couple of bins. Make sure the cash, clothes, documents, medications and things like that are in a separate bin from food. That way, if you need to leave your home, you can grab that bin, toss it into your vehicle as you leave your home.
We all hope and pray that nothing will ever happen to us, our home or the city where we live. However, things to do happen. It is when you are prepared that you can put the pieces back together and start again.
(Image credit: DisasterSafety.org)