Preparing For The Storm – Maintaining The Storm Shelter

by Tammy Taylor~

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I have a healthy respect/fear for tornadic storms!  Last year RancherMan arranged to have an underground shelter installed for me so I can feel safe when those winds start blowing.  How much do I love him for that!!?  I’ve written about the installation of our Storm Shelter. So if you’re thinking of having an underground shelter installed be sure to check that post out to see some of the considerations we made.  I also published another post about what we decided to Stock In Our Storm Shelter. If you already have a storm shelter this post shares what we decided to store down there (and what we decided NOT to store).  But now that the shelter’s been installed & stocked, what kind of upkeep does it need?  C’mon & I’ll show you what I’m doing now to prepare for those spring storms!

TORNADO SEASON is right around the corner so I'm preparing our storm shelter for those late-night runs to safety. See my preparations. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Clearing The Storm Shelter

I have vivid childhood memories of rushing down into a storm shelter in the middle of the night. The shelter was dark and the musty smell & presence of all those spider webs really gave me the heebie-jeebies!  When RancherMan had our storm shelter installed I decided that perhaps it would bring me comfort when rushing underground during those storms to have little doubt that there were no critters in the corners waiting to pounce me.  So I took advantage of some unseasonably warm late-winter weather and headed to the shelter.  I was armed with a broom, dustpan and a damp soapy rag.

The leaves that blow through the door each time it’s opened have accumulated underneath the stairs.  So I started there.  I swept the steps and also underneath the stairs to remove the leaves and dirt.

TORNADO SEASON is right around the corner so I'm preparing our storm shelter for those late-night runs to safety. See my preparations. #TaylorMadeHomesteadAnd although our vents are covered with screen, I was dismayed to see spider webs.  There were even a couple of dead spiders.  They have to go!

TORNADO SEASON is right around the corner so I'm preparing our storm shelter for those late-night runs to safety. See my preparations. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Sweeping Out The Crap!

Although it probably wasn’t necessary, I swept the walls, the ceiling & inside of those air vents It didn’t initially look like there was too much grime down there I was surprised to see a healthy little stack of crap when I was through sweeping!

TORNADO SEASON is right around the corner so I'm preparing our storm shelter for those late-night runs to safety. See my preparations. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Once everything was swept I took my soapy rag and wiped down the container that holds our supplies.  I decided last year that all of our supplies should be stored in this huge * Igloo 100-Qt cooler. That way I could rest assured nothing was hiding in any of our supplies.  Plus I wanted the floor to remain absolutely clear!  And of course the cooler serves a double purpose of being additional seating if needed.

Check Supplies

Finally it’s time to check our supplies.  I replaced the bottled water with fresh water.  It’s also a good time to replace the batteries in our *Battery-Powered Fan.  (RancherMan & I figure if it gets stuffy down in the shelter a little air circulating would add comfort.)  I have a container of  *Damp-Rid in case it starts to smell musty in the shelter, but so far it’s new enough the damp-rid hasn’t been needed.  And our experiences last year made me decide to store a large beach towel down there since we can arrive to the shelter cold & soaking wet.

TORNADO SEASON is right around the corner so I'm preparing our storm shelter for those late-night runs to safety. See my preparations. #TaylorMadeHomesteadI also decided to add chalk in case our neighbors come into the shelter with us.  They have two young children in the family.  If they start feeling anxious I could let them draw on the floor with chalk to divert their attention.  We also decided we needed a *hand-crank flashlight (no batteries needed) to leave in the cooler so we wouldn’t have to worry about batteries.

TORNADO SEASON is right around the corner so I'm preparing our storm shelter for those late-night runs to safety. See my preparations. #TaylorMadeHomesteadSo there ya go – the shelter has been swept and tidied and supplies have been refreshed.  If we do need to rush down there to escape a storm in the middle of the night I’ll feel comfortable knowing there are no unexpected surprises!

~TMH~

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16 thoughts on “Preparing For The Storm – Maintaining The Storm Shelter

  1. Marie

    This is a super important reminder! Luckily in our area of the midwest we don’t get many tornadoes but that can lull us into a false sense of security. So much better to be prepared. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I agree Marie. That’s why I schedule the first warm non-windy day to go down into the shelter & do a little maintenance. It only takes a few minutes but the peace of mind is priceless for me. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Shirley Taylor

    We have a basement that’s our shelter. It’s damp and full of spiders!!!! I need to go down and do all the STUFF! I leave all our supplies in a basket there in our laundry room,where the big door to the basement is. When I was growing up here in Oklahoma, we had a cellar that scared the poop out of me! It was always wet and musty and steep wooden stairs led into it! I get shivers thinking about it! With our very mild winter and Spring looks to have sprung in mid February, I worry about a booger of a season! Hope it’s not so..I hate tornadoes!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      OMGosh Shirley – YES, I have the same recollections as a child in my grandmother’s storm shelter. S-s-s-s-shiver….. But our shelter is clean as a whistle now and I’m going to try the mint/cotton ball thing too – I’ll be sure to share how it works for us. ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Cheryl @ Pasture Deficit Disorder

    Getting a storm shelter is on our list for sure. These are great ideas for stocking the basic necessities. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      We were lucky to get in on the tail end of a price-share program to help defray the cost of our shelter Cheryl. But as a big scardy-cat when those winds start blowing it’s a HUGE comfort to me to have this shelter! ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Margy

    I grew up in earthquake country. We didn’t build underground shelters, but we did put together supplies in case our home was damaged or destroyed. I had car backpacks and supplies in case I was caught on the road, and our school (I was the principal) had a storage bin on the playground with water, supplies and food. I went through two strong quakes, but fortunately neither my school nor home were damaged. At the cabin we get strong winds during the winter. I worry about the roof, so I hunker down in the lowest room away from the direction of the wind. I figure if it works for earthquakes, but must be good for wind. – Margy

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Indeed Margy, sounds like you’re well prepared for whatever weather crazies may happen. ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Patti

    Tammy we have a shelter and I use peppermint oil on cotton balls to keep the spiders at bay. It also helps with mice which we had only once and only one. It also helps to keep it smelling nice. You could certainly add to the damp rid. I hope you have no storms this year. We’re predicted to have a very active season and I’d rather have a snow storm than a tornado, I’ve been in 2 with one taking our home.

    Reply
  6. Sue

    I have bucket with tight lid incase someone needs to throw up. the bucket can be also used as a potty. I have a tote with water, toilet paper, paper towels, and a few snacks( I take these down on the day they are giving storm warning.

    Reply
  7. ColleenB.~Texas

    Getting all prepared, and lets hope you won’t need to use your shelter but nice to have in just in case. Living in a mobile home; I absolutely dread severe storms. Living in Iowa we had basements but here in Texas, no such thing. :{ You might consider adding some handy wipes and small first-aide kit to your supplies along with items for your dog; of which you have already thought of I’m sure, and keep them rain coats handy. Just in case; always nice to have extra set of clothing as well.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Good point about a few supplies for Bailey, Colleen. I don’t want to stock much down there at all, as our stints down there will in all probability be only 15-20 minutes at a time, BUT I have a small packet of Bailey’s food and I could take a small collapsable travel bowl for a bit of water for her as well, and maybe a piddle pad. Those things don’t take up much room at all & would be easy to store in our large cooler. Thanks for your suggestions. ~TMH~

      Reply

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