Safety From The Storm – Part II: Outfitting Your Storm Shelter

by Tammy Taylor

*includes affiliate link

 

Last week I wrote about how important it was for me to have an underground storm shelter installed. It’s close to our home at the ranch to be able to stay safe when tornado season hits.  There were many considerations for us to make for the actual installation.  If you’re considering an underground storm shelter I urge you to read Safety From The Storm – Part I: Seeking Shelter.  But now that our shelter has been installed, what do we stock it with?  I polled our wonderful  Facebook followers and they were so helpful (as they always are).  Using their suggestions as a guide, here’s what we decided would be stocked into our shelter.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock it with? Read how we decided what items should be included. #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

Now of course you can go as far as you want with stocking your shelter.  I’m assuming that 99% of our trips down into the shelter will be about a 20-30 minute duration.  I’m stocking our shelter for a slightly extended stay of maybe 2 hours.  So I won’t be stocking food, cases of water, etc.

One suggestion I heard most frequently is that we should have a covered container in case someone needs to use the bathroom. (can you still use the terminology ‘bathroom’ if there’s no bathroom to use?? LOL)  This is a very good idea.  Especially since in all probability our sweet neighbors with their two children will be joining us in this shelter.  Little ones can’t necessarily ‘hold it’ like adults can.  So I got a clean Folgers can and placed a roll of bathroom tissue inside.  If needed this lidded container stands ready to be used.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock it with? Read how we decided what items should be included. #TaylorMadeHomestead

All of our supplies will be stored in a very large nearly airtight * Igloo 100-Qt cooler that can also double as seating if needed.  Having our supplies stored in this large cooler assures there will be no bugs to contend with.  Not worrying about critters makes me feel better about rushing down there and sitting on a chair.  We’ve included a couple of folding chairs to sit on while down there.  We may buy more later but for the time being these two chairs will do.

RancherMan & I will also get a couple of 5-gallon lidded buckets to store in this large cooler.  These buckets are inexpensive & can be used for additional seating if our neighbors show up.  If need be they can also be used for lidded storage in the shelter but my intent is to keep the floor as clear as possible so that periodic ‘critter’ inspection can be done quickly & easily, so my intent is to keep them stored inside the large cooler with everything else.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock it with? Read how we decided what items should be included. #TaylorMadeHomestead

I also got a couple of bottles of water to use down there if needed.  I’m not a  big fan of  consumables stored for the long term in plastic so even though I know I could store more bottles & just rotate the stock each year, I know myself well enough that it just wouldn’t happen.  These two bottles of water should be fine for short stints inside the shelter.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock it with? Read how we decided what items should be included. #TaylorMadeHomestead

We also have this *Battery-Powered LED light kit for light that we’ll install on the ceiling of the storm shelter.  It has with a remote control light switch that reaches 50 feet.  I think we’ll probably simply mount them with a couple of anchors on the ceiling of the shelter.  We can turn the lights on manually when we get down there.  It just seems simpler to me, and simpler is better in an emergency!

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock it with? Read how we decided what items should be included. #TaylorMadeHomestead

I tested for wifi cell signal with the shelter door closed and signal doesn’t quite reach down there.  But our usual data cell service is almost full strength down inside the shelter.  Of course if a tornado disabled the nearby cell tower it may not be available.

Otherwise it’s possible for us to use our smart phones to track radar, etc. as long as there is signal available.  RancherMan is considering the purchase of a * wifi repeater/extender to extend the range of our wifi service.  That might give us a little stronger signal, but we’ll see if that’s even needed.

I’ll also take a que from my dad who has an emergency bag loaded and by the door.  It’s ready to grab on his way out to the storm shelter. (again, he’s in Tornado Alley so he goes out there a lot!)  In my emergency kit I’ll place a little LED flashlight & a small fleece lap blanket.  For those stocking for a longer stint in the shelter you can add a small supply of your prescription medications. I figure although we’ll already have light down there from the kit above, it might comfort the kids to have a small LED flashlight in their hands.

I’ve also purchased a small battery-operated fan. Since there will potentially be six of us in there – it might make it more comfortable to have the air circulating.  I’m figuring each spring I’ll load up my emergency kit with these few items.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock it with? Read how we decided what items should be included. #TaylorMadeHomestead

And another very helpful Facebook follower suggested that we put some sort of moisture remover down there to eliminate musty odors inside our shelter.  Now there’s something I never would have thought of.  MAN I love our helpful Facebook followers!  This container of * Damp Rid was only a couple of bucks and I’ll open it up in the spring when we go down there to both tidy up & check to make sure we have everything we need down there.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock it with? Read how we decided what items should be included. #TaylorMadeHomestead

So there ya go – everything we could think of that we’d need for the short-term in our storm shelter.  I like that everything we’ll be using is tightly stored in a closed container.  I don’t plan on using the shelter for any other storage because I want to make sure the floor area is kept clear. It’s easier to clean and easier to see there’s no creepy-crawlers down there to worry about.

Also be sure to check out my post about annual maintenance to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises when I run down there to escape a storm in the middle of the night!

What about you?  What’s your most important must-haves in your underground storm shelter?

~TMH~

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14 thoughts on “Safety From The Storm – Part II: Outfitting Your Storm Shelter

  1. Joe Eppes

    We have just had high winds, scattered tornados and heavy rains all around us. Looking at purchasing an above ground shelter….. These ideas sure help for planning !!!! Thanks a bunch…Any suggestion on how to pick out a shelter? Prefer steel.. Arlington, Texas

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      The weather this spring has been absolutely crazy here in NE Texas, Joe. We researched safe rooms but they were just way too expensive for our budget so we went with below ground concrete. RancherMan says your best bet is to google safe rooms and your zip code to find companies near you that sell safe rooms. Some will install them in your garage, some will integrate into your building plan if you’re building a new home. Good luck! ~TMR~

      Reply
  2. Angi @ SchneiderPeeps

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Simple Lives Thursday. We don’t live where we have tornatoes (unless there is a hurricane) but I know many of our readers do. Good idea about the “bathroom”. Hope to see you again this week.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Making a Home - Homemaking Linky - Linda's Lunacy

  4. daisy

    Great post and what a good idea about the Damp Rid! Thanks for posting this on The Maple Hill Hop. Consider yourself pinned! ;0)

    Reply
  5. CTY

    I think a blanket or two might not be a bad idea–kids like to cuddle. One more thought–seeking shelter from a severe storm can cause high levels of stress. Have a barf bag on hand; sometimes nerves are shot & the body just reacts–can happen to kids or adults. Maybe have some smelling salts, just in case someone feels overwhelmed & faints. I pray you never need to use it.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      OMGosh, never even thought of a barf bag! You’re right, a storm like that can get to the nerves, especially with a child. If they were to throw up inside the shelter, it’d be all over for ALL of us! Thanks for the tip. ~TMR~

      Reply
  6. ColleenB.

    Oh, and don’t forget about a dog leash and also very important is shut off your utilities; especially if you have gas. Make sure they are all shut off when leaving the house

    Reply
  7. ColleenB.

    emergency kits Important: a good loud (coach’s )whistle or air horn weather radio Medication Simple food…. (kept handy to take down with you when storm comes.Keep a three-day supply of simple, non-perishable food and water. Light-weight items that are packed with calories and energy are great options, such as: •Granola or energy bars •Crackers •Peanut butter •Cookies •Dried fruit • If you have a dog or a cat, put a little dog or cat food in there. Lumberjack” clothes. You want protective clothing. Most important—boots, thick socks, solid rugged jeans, good work gloves, and a coat. After a tornado, debris will be everywhere. Wood, glass, nails, and pieces and parts from everything. The boots, socks and jeans will protect your legs and feet. The coat is there in case your tornado is followed by chilly air. A copy of all of your important papers. Keep it simple. Make sure you have your insurance papers, identification papers and even a list of phone numbers for credit card companies, etc. Some information about your vehicles wouldn’t be a bad idea. You won’t have room for everything, but the more information you have, the easier it will be to get the ball rolling after the storm. A battery-operated cell phone charger Toilet seat that snaps on to 5 gallon container. Designed with snap on molded seat and lid that works great for emergency preparedness. Toilet Chemicals – Individual pouch of toilet chemicals for emergency sanitation preparation. moist towelettes Blanket or 2 glow sticks and/or good flash light with extra batteries Many of these items can be stored in a suitcase or other container and sat by your house down for you to crab onb your way out to the storm shelter. Be prepared to have a couple extra sets of clothing as well. Remember; after a large storm it’s usually pretty chilly out so be prepared for that.

    Reply
  8. Debbie S.

    I live in an area where an F-4 tornado came through just a few months ago. I might add a couple of pair of heavy duty work gloves and a pry bar. You may have to use those items immediately to help with a rescue.

    Reply

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