It’s severe weather season here in North Texas, which means the weather can turn at the drop of a hat. Watching the weather, having a plan and emergency supplies on hand can help you and your family stay safe this season. But what exactly do you need? We’ve compiled a list to help you create a severe weather kit with all the supplies you’ll need in case of an emergency.
For convenience and easy transportation, you may want to consider placing these items in a large plastic storage bin. This bin will also ensure that your supplies stay dry, safe from bugs and free of dirt.
Create an emergency kit that includes items such as a first aid kit including basic medical supplies, a flashlight, batteries, a portable radio, and a whistle.
Basic first aid items to keep in your kit:
- Sterile gloves
- Sterile dressings
- Soap and antibiotic towelettes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
- Eye wash solution
- Prescription medications you take every day
- Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
- First Aid book
- Non-prescription drugs (aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxative)
You and your family may want to also take a basic first aid class through the Red Cross or online through the National Safety Council.
Water & Non-Perishable Food
Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. You can also store water purification tablets or a filtration system in your storage bin in case your supply of fresh, clean water runs out.
Make sure to have enough non-perishable food on hand to also last at least three days. This can include canned goods, dry goods like cereal and pasta, and energy bars. Look for cans that have easy-open tabs or place a manual can opener in your storage bin. Don’t forget non-perishable protein sources, such as canned tuna or chicken, or even canned lentils, beans, or chickpeas.
For more guidance, Camping Cooks has a great guide on what to include in your food kit and how to safely cook when the power goes out.
Don’t forget clean water and plenty of food for your furry family members.
Make sure you have a supply of any necessary medications, in addition to the first aid kit mentioned earlier. If you have children or dependents that require items such as diapers or feminine hygiene products, make sure to include those as well.
Fresh Clothes and Blankets
Keep extra clean clothing and blankets on hand in case you have to leave your home or you are not able to access your clothes during severe weather or due to damage. Blankets can provide comfort and warmth if you have to be in your secure location for a long time.
This is an often forgotten luxury — until you don’t have it anymore. So, sanitation items often don’t make their way into many people’s emergency boxes. Make sure to have enough toilet paper and soap for three days. You may want to consider a makeshift toilet fashioned from a plastic bucket with a tight lid, as well as chlorine bleach for sanitization.
Keep some cash on hand in case of power outages that may prevent you from using credit or debit cards.
You may already keep your important documents such as identification, insurance policies, and financial records in a waterproof and/or fireproof container. If not, you can find these containers easily online and at hardware stores. It doesn’t hurt to store it in or near your emergency supply kit.
Tools and Supplies
Have a tool kit on hand that includes items like a wrench, pliers, and a screwdriver. You should also consider having supplies like duct tape, rope, and garbage bags.
While we’ve tried to cover the basics, it's important to remember that this is not an exhaustive list. You should customize your emergency supply kit based on your specific needs and circumstances.
Make an Emergency Plan
Creating an emergency plan and running through that plan before severe weather strikes can help ensure that you and your family know what to do, where to go and what you will need to protect yourselves. Don’t forget your emergency supply kit!
Because tornadoes are not uncommon in North Texas during this season, start by identifying where in your home your family will go during a tornado warning or threat of high winds. While basements are rare in most North Texas homes, if you do have a basement, this will be the safest place for your family to seek shelter. First-floor bathrooms and closets that are deep within your home and have no windows are your next safest option. Try to opt for the innermost room with no outside walls.
Avoid the upper floors of your home, if your home has multiple levels, or if you live in a multi-story apartment building because wind and debris damage tends to increase with height. If you live in an apartment or condo, you may want to make a plan with neighbors who live on the bottom floors.
Additionally, you may want to make note of sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study and play, so if a storm strikes while you are out of the house, you know where to go. Some places will also have signs designating that they are severe weather or tornado shelter, such as fire stations, police stations, government buildings and public libraries.
To find a severe weather shelter near you, Aid Team has a great interactive map. Just enter your zip code and a list of available places nearby will pop up. Make note of these places.
If a severe storm is rolling in, pay attention to alerts and warnings, and avoid running water or using electronics that are connected to an electrical outlet in case of a lightning strike because electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines. To be safe, unplug any appliances you don’t need. If you are outside, as soon as you hear thunder, you should head inside.
While we can’t avoid severe weather season or its unpredictability, having a plan and a well-stocked emergency kit can help you be prepared for when severe weather strikes.