Tornadoes are one of nature’s most destructive events and can appear without warning. They can happen anywhere and at any given time of the year. Their occurrence can be challenging to predict because they can change direction constantly and are only visible when dust and debris are picked up or when a funnel cloud starts to appear. Advanced planning for a tornado is critical, especially when you live in a tornado-prone area. You need to determine your evacuation route in case of a tornado warning prepare all essential items you’ll need. Knowing what should be in a tornado emergency kit can help your family prepare for the worst.
What is a Tornado?
A Tornado or twister is a dangerous, violent, rotating column of air that reaches both the ground and a thunder cloud. Massive tornadoes can have wind speeds up to 300 miles per hour, but most are under 110 miles per hour. Tornados also differ in diameter with some traversing more than two miles across, although more usually, they span just about 300 feet across. They can travel distances up to 25 miles on the ground, and though some are relatively smaller, the damage they can cause can still be devastating.
How To Prepare For a Tornado Disaster
In the southern states, tornado disasters run all year round. For the rest of the country, tornadoes occur more commonly during the spring and summer months. No matter where you stay, it is vital to make sure you and your family are prepared by constantly monitoring storm alerts, creating a family tornado plan, reinforcing your home, and having a tornado emergency kit on hand.
Preparing for a tornado or any other type of disaster requires advanced planning. There are three critical steps in preparation for a twister emergency.
- Prepare your tornado emergency kit
- Make a plan
- Information updates
Having the right emergency preparedness kit, a plan, and knowing what to do before a tornado strikes, will significantly improve you and your family’s chances of safety.
Tornado emergency kit
Knowing what should be in a tornado emergency kit for your home is the first essential step in being prepared for a tornado disaster. Emergency kits provide you and your family with the supplies you’ll need to last for three days (72 hours). To make sure that you have all the necessary items in your kit, try to make a checklist and include the following:
- N-95 respirators or face masks
- Emergency survival blankets
- Emergency ponchos
- Duct tape
For basic tasks:
- Multifunction tools (pliers, wire cutter, file/cutter, flat file, screwdriver, can opener, bottle opener, punch, knife blade)
- Leather-palmed work gloves
For communication and light:
- Whistles with lanyard (preferably metal)
- AM/FM radio with two sets of AAA batteries
- Flashlight with extra two sets of batteries
- 12-hour light sticks
- LED Safety Signal
- Waterproof document pouch
For hydration and nutrition:
- Water bags (2-gallon capacity)
- Non-perishable food (at least 3 days’ worth of supplies)
- Emergency water pouches (5 -year shelf life)
- Water purification tablets
For medical and sanitation needs:
- Personal First Aid packets
- Family First Aid kit
- First Aid Guide
- Bio-hazard bags
- Toilet paper roll
- Moist towelettes
Characteristics of Your Tornado Emergency Kit
Your tornado emergency kit should have the following features:
Your emergency kit should be compact so that it can be handy to move if you need to evacuate during the aftermath of the tornado.
Emergency kits with both easy-rolling wheels and shoulder straps provide go-anywhere flexibility.
Invest in durable emergency bags to keep your supplies secure and undamaged during the tornado attack.
Maintaining Your Kit
After completing your kit, remember to maintain it, so it’s handy when needed. Keep all your canned food in a cool, dry place. Look for food items that have a longer shelf life. For boxed food items, store them tightly in a closed plastic or metal containers. Check and replace expired items as needed. And always re-think your needs annually and update your emergency kit as your family’s needs change.
Emergency Kit Storage Locations
Since it’s impossible to predict when an emergency will occur, prepare your supplies for home, work, and even in your car. Keep your home emergency kit in a designated place that’s easy to reach in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where you keep it. For work kits, be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should cover essential items like food, water, and medicines, as well as comfortable shoes, stored in a “go-bag” case. In case you are stranded in an emergency, keeping a kit of emergency supplies in your car will significantly help you survive.
After a tornado disaster, outside help may not be accessible for several days, so you and your family will need to be secured as you tend and recover from any injuries that might happen. Understanding the importance of knowing what should be in a tornado emergency kit can help you cope with the aftermath. You must have all the necessary survival supplies so that you and your family can survive even without power, water, and food available in the days following a tornado strike. Get more tips on survival kits.