Prepare Your Kids For A Storm – What To Do In The Event Of A Tornado


How To Be Prepared For A Storm

{I originally wrote this post in March 2012, but have since updated it.}

So here’s the thing. I’m a freak about storms.

Like a total spaz. Border line nutty house kinda spaz. Probably need medication. Could possibly be committed.

Ever since we lived through the May 8th “inland hurricane” in 2009 I have been TERRIFIED.

The weather man says “rain”…and I say “GET IN THE BASEMENT”.

Pretty sure my husband thinks I’m one sandwich short of a picnic on days that we have bad weather. If you don’t believe me, just read this post and watch how my husband wasn’t sure if I was preparing for a storm or conducting a seance.

I decided that in order to keep my self from having an anxiety attack calm myself about all these tornados we have been having lately I would do a post on how to be prepared for a storm.

Unfortunately, with the recent events in Oklahoma it’s made me want to re-evaluate our storm readiness plan.

We finished our basement this year and so a lot of the items that I had down there and in our “ready” spot…got moved and misplaced. 

Here are a few tips on what you can do to be prepared during a storm:

1. Have a weather radio

How To Be Prepared For A Storm Weather Radio

Yes, the annoying weather radios that will go off in the middle of the night and wake you. Those annoying little things can save your life.

We keep ours on our nightstand right next to the baby monitor. How else will you know if you need to take shelter in the middle of the night?

You can also go to and download the free weather alert app.

2. Have a safe spot.

How To Be Prepared For A Storm Safest Places

Luckily we have a basement. However, when we lived in our old house we weren’t so lucky.

We designated the bathroom in the middle of the house as our safe spot. We would camp out in the bathtub with a crib mattress over us.

If you don’t have a basement make sure you choose a windowless bathroom on the lowest level of your home. If you don’t have a crib mattress, a thick blanket will work too. You will just want something to help protect you from flying debris.

One of our favorite things to use to protect our heads? Bike helmets.

How To Be Prepared For A Storm Helmets

Or any type of hard helmet. My kids automatically know that if we go to the basement to take cover…they MUST put on their helmet.

How To Be Prepared For A Storm Bike Helmets

3. Keep an emergency kit

How To Be Prepared For A Storm Kit

I have a bin full of our “storm stuff” that I keep in the basement. Some of the things you can stock your bin with…

A first aid kit

How To Be Prepared For A Storm First Aid

Candles, a lighter, toilet paper {you don’t want to be trapped in your safe spot without a way to wipe my friends}, flashlights, batteries, and paper towels

How To Be Prepared For A Storm

Bottled water, food, food, and more food.

How To Be Prepared For A Storm Food

You may laugh, but along with the canned goods and peanut butter I usually keep skittles. My kids love skittles. It’s one thing that I know would put a smile on their face.

And I’m thinking that if we were trapped in our basement and needed food…I would definitely be in need of smiles too.

We actually just ordered some MRE’s {military meals} to put in our storm bin. I can not imagine having to eat an MRE…but if worst came to worst and we needed food, MRE’s have a very long shelf life.

Some other things you may want to throw in a bag and have ready would be: extra blankets, prescription medication, glasses, infant formula, diapers, personal hygiene products, and important family documents.

And for pete’s sake…DO NOT FORGET shoes. I have seen countless images of people walking out of the rumble in Oklahoma without shoes. It’s truly never something I thought about until now.

A tip that someone gave me on my facebook page was to also include work gloves in your safety bin. Brillant!

4. Keep your kids occupied and distracted

How To Be Prepared For A Storm Kid Activities

We have a designated play area in the basement for our kids. The more things they have to do, the less scared they will be.

Our kids actually look forward to going down to the basement because they get to play with a whole new set of toys that they rarely see.

Again, if you don’t have a basement you can still bring things to your safe spot that will keep your kids distracted from the chaos:  books, puzzles, games, etc.

5. Make sure your phone is fully charged.

How To Be Prepared For A Storm Phone Charger

Usually when you have a bad storm the power goes out…which means you will not be able turn the tv on for weather updates or charge your phone if it goes dead.

Keeping a battery operated radio is always a great idea, but 9 times out of 10 when I am stuck in the basement without power, I get my information via social media. Facebook. Twitter. Text.

It could be days {and I do mean days…we have been without power for 6 days straight} so you will want to start this journey with a full battery on your phone. Keep your phone turned off when you are not using it.

If you have an iphone you may also want to think about purchasing this, which will give you DOUBLE the battery life.

I would really encourage you to have a plan in place when there is a threat of severe weather. So many people in our area are dealing with devastation right now. If you think it can’t happen to you, you are wrong. It can. So be prepared.

One final thought…practice your plan.

As in…teach your kids what to do in an event of a tornado {or any natural disaster}. We have quarterly tornado and fire drills at our house. It was prompted by our adoption counselor, but has been so helpful in keeping our kids up to date with how to react in the event of bad weather or a fire.

My hubby also wrote a post on how to be prepared for a storm back during the 2009 storm that damaged our home.

[ois skin=”Home Tour 2″]


  1. binhtheredonethat says

    This is very useful…I’ve been meaning to put together an emergency kit and A first aid kit. By the way I love your vblog. Thanks for sharing!
    binhtheredonethat´s last blog post ..My Daily Handbag

  2. says

    We lost our home to a tornado in May 1999. When it gets really bad I get a little freaked out but still refuse to go to our itty bitty storm shelter (out in our backyard) until the last minute. In my mind, the panic attack brought on by claustrophobia would kill me before a tornado would. My hubby replenishes a trunk we have down there with our supplies each spring but we are going to have to reevaluate since we’ve added 2 littles.
    Heather´s last blog post ..It’s Amazing…

  3. Elle says

    This is a great post! I live in Kansas and we have to go to the basement quite frequently. Unfortunately, I think people around here have become immune to warnings since we haven’t had a tornado hit close in awhile. Another thing I have heard to bring (or have in your kit) is a leash for pets. My parents always used to make us put on our tennis shoes. There is so much to remember! I’m a new follower and I look forward to reading in the future! :)

  4. says

    I did a natural disaster post last August after the earthquake in DC/MD/VA. It was crazy. I realized I did all the wrong things in a panic. It was quite interesting, but also helpful to rethink everything. Check it out:

    One thing I’ll have to add to our disaster pack is the Skittles. Thanks for that idea! I hope these crazy storms pass soon, so everyone can feel at ease again. 😉
    Tonia @TheChattyMomma´s last blog post ..New VeggieTales: Robin Good DVD Coming Soon

  5. Roma says

    I’m the same way about storm warnings! I also added these items to my emergency box: can opener, strike anywhere matches, scissors, disposable dinnerware, plastic baggies, trash bags, emergency ponchos, extra pair of shoes. We also keep our sleeping bags near the box.
    Love the helmet idea and how you practice with the kids. You are one prepared mama!

  6. says

    I grew up in Oklahoma and thankfully don’t live there now. It’s SO good to keep kids prepared and “practiced” on what to do so they won’t be scared when the time comes.
    Haute Mommy´s last blog post ..Sunday Social

  7. says

    I thought I was the only crazy one out there! Ever since I was little I freak out about storms, so bad at one point if there was a SINGLE cloud in the sky I would be terrified! Being prepared for these events has kept me partially sane! In addition to the things you have I have the following in our safety kits:
    -Mylar blanket
    -medicines (any prescriptions I have an extra in there as well as advil, Tylenol, etc.
    -An extra change of clothes for each member of the family
    -ponchos for everyone
    -animal food (for anyone who has dogs etc. this is commonly forgotten!)
    -feminine products!
    -rope (this has so many uses, but really could help in an awful situation)
    -duct tape (again one of those things with many uses!)
    -an extra pair of prescription glasses as well as sunglasses for everyone
    -a pack of diapers, wipes, etc.
    -Each person has a backpack filled with favorite non-perishable foods, activities, first aid kit, flashlight, etc.

    It is great you teach your children how to be prepared in case they are at school or a friend’s hour during a natural disaster!

    Heaven´s last blog post ..Kids Gifts

  8. says

    I remember the inland hurricane (aka “hurrinado”). My best friend graduated from SIUC the next day. We ended up driving down to Metropolis the night of the storm just so we could stay in a hotel that still had electricity.

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