Preparing and Stocking a Tornado Shelter

Protecting your family and preparing them for severe weather and tornadoes should be a yearly ritual. Taking the time, before bad weather strikes, to ensure all the necessities are in order, can save precious time later. There are items that should already be in your storm shelter and others that can be taken with you when you need to take shelter.

Many of these items you may consider extreme and you may decide they are not necessary. That of course is fine, you need to choose items that are best for your family’s needs. Keep in mind, though, you are sheltering your family not your home. If it is gone when you open the shelter door after a tornado, you will be grateful for the things you prepared ahead of time.

Stock your shelter with-

Water-A three day supply is recommended and one gallon a day for each family member.

Non perishable foods-Again, store a three day supply. Don’t forget a manual can opener.

First-aid Kit

Blankets and sleeping bags for every member of the family. You have to store sleeping bags somewhere, it might as well be the storm shelter.

Extra sets of clothes for the whole family.

Candles with matches-Be sure to store these in a water tight container.

Flashlights with extra batteries


Radio with extra batteries

Trash bags

Bucket with a lid and toilet paper

Wet wipes and soap

Paper towels

Paper plates, and eating utensils

Diapers, baby wipes and baby food if you have an infant in the family.

Keep all of these items in a tightly sealed plastic container and resealable plastic bags, to keep them fresh, clean and dry, until you need them.

You should also keep a tote bag or two to grab on your way to the shelter. Prepare this when you hear a forecast of possible bad weather. You do not want to be running around the house gathering things when you should be taking cover in your shelter.


Prescriptions and other medicines

Glasses, contacts and contact solutions


Purses and wallets

Cell phones fully charged and charger

Packet of important papers like insurance papers and agents phone numbers.

Weather Radio

Consider things you may want to add that are unique for your family and their needs. A couple of things to make note of are-

As your family grows, change the size of clothes you have prepared.

Change out food and water every 4-6 months or use and replace before it gets to old.

Other things you may consider, but are not necessities are-

Table and chairs-This will depend on the size room you have. I use folding chairs stored against the wall and a small typewriter table. The chairs are set up after everyone is in the shelter and the door is closed.

Games, books, and toys-You could use a plastic container or a small cabinet to store these things. These items may seem trivial, but it helps to keep kids and babies busy, especially if you are trying to hear the radio for storm information.

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