Prepare your family for disaster recovery

disaster kit
Assemble a disaster kit with food, water and emergency supplies.

Recent news reports show the devastation that can happen when a tornado hits a community. “Tornado alley” in the southern Plains states has a statistically higher tornado occurrence, but National Climatic Data Center records show tornadoes can happen in any state. While there is nothing you can do to prevent a tornado, there is much you can do to prepare your family for recovery from a tornado. Think about your home, school, place of worship or other locations where family members are likely to spend time, and discuss a “safe location” where you might go for shelter in those locations.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tornado preparedness website advises that you go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. also urges all families to create a family communication plan and to assemble a disaster preparedness kit.

Family communication plan

Because your family may not be together when disaster strikes, FEMA recommends that you create contact cards for adult family members to keep in your wallet or purse. Put copies in each child’s backpack or book bag, too.

Designate an out-of-town friend or relative to act as a contact point. If your family is separated, have family members check in with your contact person using a cell phone or prepaid calling card. Families who text may find that text messages can get through when cell phone or landline calls cannot.

Assemble a disaster supplies kit

FEMA recommends you assemble a supply kit that includes three days of food and water for each member of your household. You can assemble one yourself or purchase pre-assembled kits in storage buckets from your local shopping club. Store the items in your designated household “safe location” for immediate access in an emergency. Remember to include:

  • flashlight and batteries
  • emergency radio
  • first aid kit
  • whistle to signal for help
  • wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

A complete list is available at And when assembling your kit, remember to plan for your household pets.

You can’t stop a tornado, but having the plan and the supplies you need can make recovery easier.

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8 Responses to “Prepare your family for disaster recovery”

  1. Phyllis Weiner

    In the above picture, please include a manual nonelectric can opener in case there is a loss of electricity. Thank you, Phyllis C. Weiner

  2. Wendell Adams

    Store one gallon of water per person per day for
    preparedness: plus water for pets. See
    for more “Be Prepared. . . Not Scared”

  3. Carol Wayne

    I got a wonderful nonelectric can opener from QVC that also leaves no sharp edges on the can! Great item….highly recommend it!

  4. Carol Wayne

    Having survived the “Ice Storm” we had in 2009….you learn real quick what you SHOULD HAVE HAD….for emergencies. We were 10 days without any power. We had electric personell from all across the U.S. to help restore power. With Spring now here we have to get ready for Tornado season. I guess I had better go check my supplies to see if anything needs restocked!

  5. Tommy

    Please add a corkscrew to list

  6. Carol Wayne

    Ok….what is the cork screw for other than for a bottle of wine?

  7. Richard McGraw

    invest in a solar multi-charger for cellular devices so you can communicate with others.

  8. Dale Cannon

    i have 6 portable generators ( overkill I know) but during the 09 ice storm we didn’t even notice the power was out for two weeks! Bought most of them at pawn shops for half of new price.


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