Here in Oklahoma, weather is pretty unpredictable. Around this time of year it is usually either snowing or the tornado sirens are going off constantly. So, usually around the time the seasons change and it is officially “spring”, I pack the “tornado bag”.
This year I put it off a little longer than I usually do, so this evening as the tornado warnings were starting to flash on the TV my husband & I started packing. As I was frantically throwing items into the bag, the thought popped into my head that maybe not everyone packs a bag or maybe could just use a checklist. Thus, the inspiration for this blog post.
I’m a full-time college student first and foremost in my life, well after the “full-time wife” title. My husband is 100% aware of the level of seriousness I take my schooling & has mad respect for it. I’m ridiculously blessed. So this sort of leads into the first few items on the checklist:
1. Data backup.
I pack the Mac, iPad, chargers, and all four flash drives into my backpack (as well as all of my textbooks for the semester & notebooks) & have it sitting in a place where I can quickly grab & go, should the sirens blow. My entire life is on my Mac, but I’m not foolish enough to not backup everything to all four flash drives at least once a month. In the event of a natural disaster, such as a tornado, I
need HAVE to know that all of my hard work isn’t hanging in a tree thirty miles away, but rather safely with me. Hence, the packing into a backpack. Slide it on your back & high tail it to the shelter. **I always store one of the data backup flash drives in the clothing bag in case there just isn’t time to grab this.**
**Disclaimer, I would NEVER risk my life for a computer or iPad. Please do not mistake this for my being foolish enough to risk dying for saved homework. However, I do typically go ahead & get this bag ready if there is plenty of warning ahead of time.**
The second thing I pack is medications, always. Not just the regular prescriptions that we may have, but I try to think to pack a makeshift first-aid kit. Including: band-aids, antibiotic ointments, inhaler, tylenol, motrin, and of course the other necessities. Adjust this to your family’s requirement. Toss these in a gallon sized Ziplock bag & slide into an exterior pocket of the bag.
3. FUNCTIONAL clothing.
I repeat, FUNCTIONAL clothing. In the event of a natural disaster, you do not need to be worrying about how glamorous you are looking in fancy heels or low-cut shirts. No. Long pants, tees, a jacket, extra undergarments, socks, and closed toe shoes should ALWAYS be including in the bag. Don’t pack five day’s worth of clothing, just a spare outfit. **Hint** put on the closed toe shoes before you head to the shelter, less bulk in the emergency bag. A jacket is also something you can don quickly & not take up storage space in your bag.
No one, and I mean NO ONE, wants to smell your
stank breath. I usually pack a toiletry bag in a small zip up bag & toss it in the bag. Sample size toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and soap are cheap to pick up at the store & great to have in case of emergencies. Please, for the love of Pete, pack a toothbrush & toothpaste…
I typically shove my wallet & such into my backpack, I grab the backpack & my husband grabs the emergency bag, so we just grab this & go. Women: you can always just grab your purse.
6. Irreplaceable valuables.
I always grab two things from my jewelry box, rings from my grandmothers. Both of whom have passed and these are truly irreplaceable. Typically go ahead and shove these in the bottom of the bag for the duration of tornado season & existence of the “tornado bag”.
My suggestions for a bag are as follows:
This is my top choice. As I said earlier, I grab the backpack with the computer stuff in it & my husband grabs the bag with clothing in it. They are easy to slide on, you do not have to worry about it sliding off your shoulder, and in worst case scenarios-you can RUN with this on your back & typically not have to fight it.
If you have children, this is a perfect way to have each member of the household prepared for the worst case scenario. Simply have a bag in the child’s closet (or next to yours depending on the child’s age) and each member of the household can grab their bag & go.
This is the other option I suggest, though still strongly recommend a backpack. A duffel usually holds more than a backpack, so great for families with small children, and all of mine are able to be worn “cross-body” so it does not easily slide off the shoulder.
In the event that you have a shelter or designated safe place to go, that is strictly yours, I suggest the following:
Store water & non-perishables.
This actually shouldn’t go in your bag, but rather kept in the location where you seek shelter. A 12 pack of water, few cans of soup, and/or some granola bars or something would be great to keep. I always have a bottle of water tucked into my backpack so it is easy to keep one on hand too.
**If you store canned goods, rotate through these throughout the year so they do not spoil.**
Store batteries & a portable radio.
In the event that a tornado is coming & you lose power, you will need to be able to know what is going on. & funny little bit of information, if all heck is breaking loose outside, chances are the cell towers will not be working. BUY A BATTERY POWERED RADIO.
Store emergency information.
Many people are constructing a “safe room” rather than the old-school style cellar, thus making utilization of the storage space much easier. If your shelter is water tight & not musty, go ahead and keep a copy of your important documents in there.
My suggestion would be to invest in a fire box & keep a copy of:
Again, kind of like storing the documents, best if it is a water tight/storage utilizable space. If you have access to this, make use of the space and keep an extra blanket or two.
If you have any suggestions on things to add to this list, please comment on this post! I welcome any feedback!
A girl that has no desire to ever visit the land of Oz.