Thanks to my Facebook friends for some of these tips!
1. Buy a home with a storm cellar. Reinforce it with steel doors.
2. Make sure you have up-to-date homeowner’s insurance.
3. Have a To Go Bag ready at all times.
4. Check the FEMA website for helpful information regarding tornado preparedness.
5. Have at least three days (72 hours) worth of food and water stored in a cellar, interior closet, or other safe place.
6. Know where the nearest shelters are and make sure your kids know their locations, too.
7. Stay tuned in to local news, either TV or radio. After the storm passes, old fashioned rabbit-ears (TV antenna) might help you get local channels if your cable is down.
8. Know all the safest or safe-ish locations to shelter, e.g. a bathtub or a closet. You may be visiting friends, out shopping, or at the park when a tornado hits. Know how to be as safe as possible wherever you are.
9. Have flashlights, oil lamps, and other sources of light. Extra batteries are a must.
10. Have an emergency, hand-crank radio.
11. Have a cell phone charger. During tornado season, always have your phone charged. An Enercell from Radio Shack would be a good idea. Keep it fully charged in a To Go Bag.
12. Some TV stations offer free weather warnings via text messages. Check the websites of your local TV and news/talk radio stations to see if they are offering this service. Police and fire departments may also offer this service.
13. Have family drills so everyone knows what to do and where to go. Have an occasional drill in the middle of the night. Who says tornadoes only strike during the convenient daylight hours?
14. Make a Grab-n-Go Binder and keep at least one copy with a trusted family member out of state.
15. Put on sturdy shoes as soon as a siren goes off. A tornado produces enormous amounts of debris, including broken glass, nails, metal, and wood. The last thing you need is a foot injury that would keep you sidelined.
16. Know how to safely shut off your electric service, gas line, and water.
17. Keep a small refrigerator/freezer in the basement.
18. Keep cash on hand. You’ll probably have to pay for those Red Cross doughnuts!
19. A local map will help you keep track of weather alerts.
20. Talk with old-timers and find out how they have weathered past tornado seasons.
21. If your kids have friends they spend a lot of time with, find out what those families have planned in case of a tornado, or any other emergency, for that matter.
22. Keep the tank of your car filled with gas. You may need to evacuate to a safer location.
23. Stay calm. A terrified parent is going to send the kids right over the edge.