Your Severe Weather Emergency Kit


Preparing your family

Preparedness is key in any emergency.  The more prepared you are, the more levelheaded your response to a situation.  Our first blog in the severe weather series reviewed how to identify and designate a safe location in your home in case of a severe storm or tornado.

Now use this second blog in the series to prepare your family with an emergency kit for a severe weather episode. Below is a list of supplies designed to help you ride out a severe weather threat:  from the alarm sounding to dealing with the storm damage.  Remember, your supplies need to function in case there is no electrical power and home damage.

Storage bin

You will want to keep your supplies dry and protected in the basement. The ideal container is a rugged plastic bin which is resistant to stresses. You will want one container for supplies and another container for important home and family documents.


  • A small radio, preferably a self-powered radio. Check out some of the new NOAA emergency radios that have a flashlight and USB charger built into them – a multi-use tool.
  • A flashlight, preferably a self-powered flashlight.
  • Helmets and protective eyewear for each member of the family. This extra protection is worthwhile in case of flying debris.
  • Shoes for each member of the family. This is very necessary in case you come to the storm shelter barefoot or in sandals. Shoes will protect your feet from building storm damage such as broken glass, nails, and broken wood.
  • Glow sticks. These will safely provide you with light without the risk of fire.
  • A whistle.
  • A permanent marker. Besides its obvious uses, use the marker to write each family member’s name on their arm in case he or she is knocked unconscious or injured in the storm. This identification may save their life.
  • A pack of batteries for your NOAA radio and flashlights
  • A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • A multipurpose/knife.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Canned food or power bars
  • A hand-powered can opener
  • A few small plastic dishes and utensils
  • A blanket for every family member
  • Phone
  • Water and bottles
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • First aid kit (Band-Aids, cloth, etc.)
  • Money (preferably small bills)
  • Car charger for your cell phone. You can then use your vehicle to charge your cell phone even if your home lost electrical power.
  • Medicines
  • Spare set of keys to your vehicle and home
  • Extra change of clothes for each person
  • Anything you may need for pets. Make sure to include an extra identification collar for your pet and an extra leash for their safety.  After the storm while you are doing clean up, keep the pet on a leash to prevent them from getting lost or injured.
  • Anything you may need for children. Include books, activity kits, and favorite snacks to distract them during the weather warning. You don’t know how long you will have to be in your safe area.


Important Documents

Compile a folder of important documents. Think about what information you will need in case you experience home damage and/or personal injury. Don’t forget that you may need to prove to the authorities that you live in the house.

These documents may include:

  • Health, home, and car insurance
  • Bank account information
  • Phone numbers to utility companies
  • Hard copy contact list for family and friends
  • Medical history for each family member in case of injury
  • Pet documentation stating proof of pet ownership, pet microchip identification, Pet ID cards and tags
  • Home inventory list. The home inventory list will make it easy to identify damaged items in your home, and assist the insurance company in fulfilling your claim.

Now you are in the know! Protect yourself and your family.

Follow these simple preparations and give yourself a peace of mind.

The above article is meant to give a general overview of tornado preparation. Please refer to your individual state government’s guidelines for severe weather preparations. 

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