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Emergency Storm Kit–Why I needed one! (updated)

on April 15, 2012

As we sit waiting out the third round of storms for the day, I realize that I am not prepared at all for the dreaded Tornado season that happens each year in the Midwest.  Today we had very scary weather alerts letting us know that strong winds, large hail, and tornadoes were likely for our area (and most of the rest of our region).  I didn’t really think too much of it, having grown up here and knowing how bad storms can get.  But, then I started checking Facebook.  So many people were preparing for the imminent doom that was about to descend directly upon our heads.  They were posting lists of the supplies and necessary items they were packing together in case weather Armageddon indeed occurred.

As a child, these violent storms always scared me.  Long, loud thunderstorms would send me scurrying under our coffee table or into my parents’ bed.  During one summer storm, when my brother and I were home alone, my mom called us and told us to get our essential items and head to the basement closet.  To us, our essential items including things like our entire stuffed animal collections, bowling shirts covered in patches, and favorite snacks.  As I am now an adult and a mom, my idea of essential has changed.

Knowing 24 hours in advance that we might get our doors blown off gave me plenty of time to prep and to worry (though I only really started prepping a few hours before the storms were to hit and only after reading the fifth Facebook post about others’ storm kits).  I found myself to be a little lost, wandering around the house trying to think of what I would want/need if we became trapped in the basement for any length of time or were without power or water for a while.  It is a really scary thing to think about!—which is probably why I hadn’t faced it sooner.  And, I realized I was not ready in any way to face an epic storm.  Sure I have flashlights strategically placed around the house, and I’m sure we could make do with whatever clothes were in the dryer, but what if we didn’t have 24 hours notice?

Should I have paid more attention to the article in one of the parenting magazines about what to include in emergency kits?  I remember clearly at the time thinking I should make one, but not wanting to make the several different versions the lady who wrote the article mentioned.  Nor did I have the money to shell out for all of the things she listed.  After my eye-opening worry fest today, I know I do need to face this challenge because I want my daughter—my family—to be safe in the event of an emergency.  So, tomorrow when I go to the store, I need to keep in mind what I need to put in my kit.

1)       Storm Radio (Amazingly, we already have one.)

2)      A few flashlights (get more so I am not pilfering from what we already have)

3)      Batteries

4)      Matches

5)      Small first aid kit & pain medicine

6)      Wet wipes

7)      Hand Sanitizer

8)      Non-perishable food/snacks

9)      Extra clothing (already in house)

10)   Charger for cell phone (luckily we have extras)

11)   Paper & Pencil

12)   Cat food

13)   Blankets/Pillows (easy enough since our shelter is our storage room)

14)   Kid distractions (games, coloring books, etc)

15)   Copies of important documents

16)   Dust Mask

17)   Water (www.ready.gov suggests 1 gallon per person X 3.  For us that is 9 gallons of water.  Where do you keep 9 GALLONS of water??  What if you have 5 people in your family!).  Not sure how much I’ll store yet.

18)   Trash bag/zipper bags

These items (other than the water) will be kept in a clear plastic storage bin in our “shelter area.”

Stuff to grab on the way

1)      Cat

2)      Wallets

3)      Phones

4)      Keys

5)      Portable Computers

6)      Prescriptions (if there is time)

After thinking about all of the practical things we would need in an emergency, I realized there were several items on the above ground levels of our house that I would not want to lose.  I have a plastic file box where I keep all of my daughter’s memories (post to come soon regarding this process).  I was keeping it in her room for convenience, but I now think I’ll keep it in our storage room.  I don’t want to have to lug that to the basement in the middle of the night to save our priceless memories.  The rest of the stuff is really just stuff.  As long as I have my family, and we are safe, I count myself lucky.  Everything else can be replaced.  Having an emergency kit ready to go is a huge step forward in making sure that if a disaster does hit, we are as prepared as possible to face it.

Our Emergency Kit!

This is our Emergency Kit thus far.  I am missing a few things off my list above, but they are easy to add.  Included are a few other items as well: basic toiletries, scissors, paper towels, toilet paper, plastic cups and utensils, and wash cloths.

Putting this kit together over the last few days sets my mind at ease a little.  If do feel calmer about the potential for facing a disaster situation.  Though, I am still not sure where to store all the water!

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