Set Up a Safe Basement Storm Shelter(page 1 of 2)

Providing a secure location during severe weather is important for your family's safety and peace of mind. Get tips for stocking supplies and setting up a safe room.

Twister on countryside

Despite good warning systems for detecting natural disasters, they still occur and surprise homeowners, or become far worse than expected. Good preparedness can mean the difference between being safe, and comfortably waiting out the event at home, versus being miserable—cold, hungry, and in danger.

Take the time to set up a secure shelter in your home's basement or lower level, which might include a generator if that's in the budget. Also, purchase the right homeowner's insurance before you need it in case you must replace parts of your house that get damaged. Here are essentials from the Federal government's FEMA site and Red Cross:

Disaster Kit Essentials

Set these together in a designated go-to spot in your basement that everyone in the family know about:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, replace it every six months to be safe
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Whistle or loud horn to signal for help
  • Dust mask to filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting, duct tape
  • Moist towelettes in little packages
  • Garbage bags with plastic ties
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger
  • Chlorine bleach and medicine dropper for use as disinfectant
  • Fire extinguisher and matches in waterproof container
  • Portable fans for hot weather
  • $100 or so in cash

First Aid Supplies

This separate kit recommended by the Red Cross will aid a family of four; adjust essentials for your family size:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings, 5 by 9 inches
  • 25 adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape, 10 yards by 1 inch
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin
  • 1 blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier with one-way valve
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves, large size
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets, approximately 1 gram each
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage, 3 inches wide
  • 1 roller bandage, 4 inches wide
  • 5 sterile gauze pads, 3 by 3 inches
  • 5 sterile gauze pads, 4 by 4 inches
  • Oral thermometer that’s non-mercury/nonglass
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First-aid instruction booklet

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