Tornado shelter items: Food, water, clothes, medicine and batteries are things you should have

TULSA - Do you have the right supplies in your storm shelter?

Here are the top five things you need to be sure you have in the event of a tornado.

If you don’t have a safe-room, basement or storm cellar, you need to designate one single place in the house as a tornado shelter. And you need to make sure to have these items securely placed in this location.

Medication. If you have a serious illness that requires special medication, you need to keep an extra supply of your medicine tucked away in your storm shelter. Remember—the bigger the tornado, the higher the likelihood that roadways are obstructed keeping the semis that bring food and medicine from getting into town. If the power is out, the stores can’t open. Hospitals will likely be jam-packed. Doctor’s offices would likely be closed. A small stash of that medication is a great idea. If you wear glasses or contacts, keep extra stashed away.

Simple food. No fancy prep work required. It’s not going to be tasty; it’s not meant for dinner parties, it’s meant to feed you and your family for a few days. You will need your strength. You could eat peanut butter out of a jar for days, and peanut butter keeps for a long time. Put some crackers in there and you’ve got a big snack/small meal. Tuna doesn’t need to be cooked, and it comes in pouches and is high in protein.

If you have an infant, you need some extra baby food. Try to put some bottled water in there too. If you have a dog or a cat, put a little dog or cat food in there.

"Lumberjack” clothes. You want protective clothing. Most important - boots, thick socks, solid rugged jeans and a coat. After a tornado, debris will be everywhere. Wood, glass, nails, and pieces and parts from everything. The boots, socks and jeans will protect your legs and feet. The coat is there in case your tornado is followed by chilly air.

Copies of all of your important papers. Keep it simple. Make sure you have your insurance papers, identification papers and even a list of phone numbers for credit card companies, etc. Some information about your vehicles wouldn’t be a bad idea. You won’t have room for everything, but the more information you have, the easier it will be to get the ball rolling after the storm.

Battery-operated cell phone charger. You can get one for your smartphone that runs off of “AA” batteries, so you’ll want extra batteries. They have solar powered chargers too. It might sound strange, but think about it. Now you can make arrangements for a place to stay, reassure family and friends that you’re ok and have a way for the insurance company to contact you. You can also post post-storm status updates on Facebook and Twitter using your cell phone after the storm. It’s simpler than making 50 phone calls to friends and family.

These items are just to get you the basics to help you through the first few hours and days. Most of this stuff will keep for years. The food might need to be freshened every six months to a year. Even with that, the hour or two that you spend a year setting up and stocking your shelter WILL pay off in the event of a tornado.

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