What you need to do BEFORE a tornado strikes

Whether or not you decide that you need a shelter in your house, you can take two important steps to protect yourself and your family during a tornado:

  1. Prepare an emergency plan
  2. Put an emergency supply kit together.

If you decide to install a shelter, your emergency plan should include notifying local emergency managers and family members or others outside the immediate area that you have a shelter. This will allow emergency personnel to quickly free you if the exit from your shelter becomes blocked by debris. You should also prepare an emergency supply kit and either keep it in your shelter or be ready to bring it with you if you need to evacuate your house. Some of the items that the emergency supply kit should include are:

  • an adequate supply of water for each person in your household
  • non-perishable foods that do not have to be prepared or cooked (if these include canned goods, remember to bring a can opener!)
  • a first-aid kit, including necessary prescription medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes
  • tools and supplies:
    • flashlight (do not bring candles or anything that lights with a flame)
    • battery-operated radio
    • cellular phone or CB radio
    • list of telephone important telephone numbers (work numbers, schools, Grandparents, etc.)
    • extra batteries
    • camera and film for recording the damage after the tornado. DO NOT attempt to take pictures of the tornado! tornadoes are unpredictable and deadly!
    • wrench (to turn off household gas and water)
    • clothing and bedding
    • portable toilet
  • specialty items:
    • for baby - formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk
    • for adults - contact lenses and supplies, extra glasses
    • for pets - food, leashes, Rescue Remedy calming drops (available at local health food stores)