Tornado Shelter Plans: Emergency Preparedness, Tornado Shelter Supplies

Everyone living in a tornado zone should consider having tornado shelter plans in place. These will include not only the physical design of the safe house, but also a list of things to do after a warning, and what kinds of items to store. Preparation is one of the first steps in keeping safe in any type of disaster including a twister.

What to Look for When Building

The right design is important to ensure that an emergency bunker is comfortable and safe. Finding and using the right tornado shelter plans is an important first step in building or buying a shelter of any type. FEMA and the National Storm Shelter Association have guidelines and information that can help you in this area. You can also find valuable information online for designing and building a safe house in which to ride out a twister or hurricane. In fact, setting up these structures properly may help protect you during a nuclear event.

Designing Your Emergency Plan

Apart from size and location, shelter plans should also include the type of material necessary. Some of the best materials for building these structures are reinforced steel, concrete or wood. A good design will also include at least one alternative exit from the safe house after the storm. It is a real possibility that if there is just one entrance and exit you may be stuck if something falls onto it. Pay attention to simple things like the latch for the door. The best door will not stay locked if the latch is flimsy or if you failed to attach it properly. 

You will also need to know whether you are in an area that is prone to floods as this is an important consideration for the type of unit. People in these areas should ideally build above ground bunkers. If the water table allows and you can get a building permit, an underground shelter is always the way to go.

Finally, all good tornado shelter plans must include teaching people to know what to do and when to do it. This component of the plan will include things like:

  • When to head to the bunker/safe house
  • Is there a team leader who has to make sure everyone makes it to the shelter
  • Are there family members who will need help and who has the responsibility to help these persons
  • Download a few disaster preparedness apps to your Smartphone, making sure to include those that give warnings and enable others to trace your location. A search on the Internet will provide lots of hits for these types of apps.

Tornado Shelter Plans Include Supplies

Apart from food and water, you should also keep medicine, not just regular first aid, but prescription medicine for those who need them. Building an emergency kit is part of all good tornado shelter plans. If you have a safe house, keeping one kit inside it and another with you at all times makes sense. This second kit can be in the house or in your vehicle if you travel a lot. Your supply of food and water should last for at least 72 hours. Have at least one gallon of water per person, that is, three gallons each for the 3 days. Not only should you have foods in cans, you should also have a can opener and matches. Other items for your kit are:

  • Candles
  • Batteries
  • Some small tools, such as screwdrivers and a hammer and sturdy knife in case you need to do some minor repairs 
  • At least two pairs of gloves 
  • A pair of strong, sturdy shoes

After the storm, if you follow the tornado shelter plans you find, you will know to keep your family together until you are sure you are safe. Getting first aid to anyone needing it is important, but be careful so as not to cause further injuries or to hurt yourself. Waiting for emergency personnel is always a good rule of thumb.  For all of this to work properly, make sure to have regular drills so that everyone knows what to do if a disaster strikes.

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