Severe Weather Season: How to prepare your emergency kit

TULSA, Okla. — With severe weather entering our forecast more often, now is the time to prepare your severe weather kit for your home. If you already have one, pull it out and make sure all of your items are up to date and not expired. If you’ve never put one together, here are some of the items you’ll want to include.

Let’s start with your cell phone and a charger along with an extra battery if you have one. This can be your source of information and lifeline if you get trapped in your shelter.

Make sure everyone in your family has a closed-toe pair of shoes in case you need to walk through debris after the storm passes. A bike helmet might feel silly to wear indoors, but it is about the most effective thing you can put on to protect your head from flying debris.

Next, here are some items you’d want in case you lose power, starting with a flashlight or lantern. A battery-powered fan could also be very useful to ventilate the air as well – don’t forget the batteries!

Here are some additional items that the National Weather Service recommends, depending on the needs for your family:

  • Storage tub to hold your supplies
  • Bottled Water
    1 gallon per person is recommended
  • Non-Perishable food
    If including canned foods, you must include a can opener
  • First Aid Supplies
    Disinfectant wipes
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper and bags with ties for personal sanitation
  • Paper and pen or pencil (to take notes, play games, etc.)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket (recommend one for each person in your home)
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Personal hygiene items (travel size deodorant, cotton swabs, feminine items, etc)
  • Whistle to Signal for help
  • Important documents (identification, insurance information, banking information, wills, etc)
  • Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book
  • Battery powered radio and a NOAA Weather radio
  • Formula and diapers (if there is an infant in the house)
  • Extra pet food (if there are pets in the house)
  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Cups and utensils
  • A change of clothes for each person in your home (if you live in a cooler climate make sure the clothes are warm!)
    Also include a jacket, hat, gloves and closed toe shoes for walking (boots or sturdy sneakers are best)
  • Rain gear
  • Cash
  • Paper towels
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Cards or game (it is important to have something to do to take your mind off the situation for a few moments or alleviate stress if you will be in your shelter for an extended time)

Putting all of these things in or next to your shelter can save you crucial time when you a dangerous storm or tornado is bearing down on you.  It could literally be the difference between life and death.

Be sure your shelter itself is clear enough for your household to be in a moment’s notice. And if anyone outside your household joins you, make sure you have masks on hand in this era of COVID-19.