Learn what to put in a storm shelter so that you and your family will be prepared.  We have the top 5 shelter items you need to have.

Learn what to put in a storm shelter so that you and your family will be prepared.  We have the top 5 shelter items you need to have in your tornado shelter.

What to put in a storm shelter

This year is our first storm season to have a shelter… ever. Two years ago, we got a scare and a tornado went right over our old neighborhood.

The kids and I squeezed into a friends shelter since we did not have one of our own. At that moment, we knew when we built our house that we HAD to put in a storm shelter.

What supplies do u need for a tornado?

Now, that we have a storm shelter, I have no idea what do to to prepare for a tornado, so I asked my friend (an experiences tornado shelter owner) to give us her top 5 things she brings into her shelter. Enjoy…

Learn what to put in a storm shelter so that you and your family will be prepared.  We have the top 5 shelter items you need to have in your tornado shelter.

Let’s get started with this storm cellar supply list.

Learn what to put in a storm shelter so that you and your family will be prepared.  We have the top 5 shelter items you need to have in your tornado shelter.

Do you have a storm shelter?

I love having a storm shelter. I love the security it provides should “that storm” head our way.

I do not enjoy going in there. Believe me! I could tell you some stories!

What to pack for tornado?

However, I do try to make “our stay” in the shelter as enjoyable bearable as possible.

What do you keep in a tornado shelter?

Here is a list of what we consider to be “must-have’s” in the shelter:

Tornado supplies list

1. Important Papers

We own a fire safe box. It contains out most important papers: birth certificates, social security cards, last will and testament…

We keep the fire safe box in our shelter. That way, there is no running around to make sure we have it.

2. Water and a bucket

We keep about 6 bottles of water in the shelter. Worst case scenario, I imagine us being stuck in their for a few days.

We have enough water for everyone in the shelter (including the dog). We also make sure to clean out the shelter before storm season hits to make sure everything is still good (not past the expiration date).

Plus now I keep a bucket in there. Just in case someone has to go to the bathroom.

I have heard that people actually put kitty litter in their bucket and I have thought about doing that as well.

3. Shelf Stable Food

We have “treats” or snacks in here that I know are well liked, but also serve dual purposes. We like to have peanut butter crackers, protein/granola bars, dried fruit and nuts.

You don’t have to go crazy here, but make sure what you do have contains a decent amount of protein so you can all maintain some level of energy. When we had babies, we would keep a few jars of baby food and shelf stable formula in the shelter.

If you have a furry friend, don’t forget about storing some food for them, too. I do like to keep some special treats, like suckers or other long lasting candy.

Sometimes the kids (or grown-ups) will get restless, so it is nice to have a special little treat to bring out.

4. Change of clothing

Since we never know when a storm is going to hit, we keep a change of clothing for everyone in the shelter. This includes underwear, socks and tennis shoes.

If you have to head to the shelter in the middle of the night, you don’t want to worry about grabbing your stuff then. You also don’t want to come out of the shelter, should there be major devastation, with clothes and a sturdy pair of shoes.

5. Blankets

We do not know how long we may have to be in the shelter, so we keep a couple of blankets so we can try to make ourselves a bit more comfortable, should we be stuck in storm shelter for any length of time. You can also throw in a pillow or two, if you think it would help.

No, our shelter is not big. It is in the ground in our garage and it can fit 6-8 people, snugly.

We have an old wooden cabinet in the shelter under the wood plank stairs. It is out of the way, so it doesn’t take up any of our precious elbow room. We keep everything listed here in the cabinet.

I know it may sound like a lot, and the few times we have actually had to be in our shelter, we have barely touched any of it. However, I take solace in knowing it is all in there, should we need it.

Those are our top 5 shelter items.

What do you keep in your storm shelter?

Please share your families tips and tricks so we can all be a little more prepared this severe weather season.

Get your storm cellar supplies ready!

After last night’s even here in Oklahoma, I thought I would share an old (but good) post. Let me know what you keep in your shelter by leaving a comment below.

What should you have in a tornado emergency kit?

Are there are other items you can think of you would want in your kit? The above items are the top 5 but you may think of a few others that your family will need or want.

The important thing is to have your tornado shelter kit ready! 

Make sure your supplies checklist has been met and your shelter checklist is in order. Don’t forget food and water, first aid kit, non perishable food and a battery powered radio.

It is not fun to think about needing these things or needing a tornado shelter but disaster happens all the time in the United States. We must all be prepared.

So get your bottled water or safe room in order and let each family member know the plan for the ground storm shelter.

Learn what to put in a storm shelter so that you and your family will be prepared.  We have the top 5 shelter items you need to have in your tornado shelter.

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  1. Flashlights! I found 2 at the Dollar Store for my girls, so we’ve added those to our “tornado goodie box”. Another suggestion, especially with young children, grab a disposable potty chair/container of some kind. You never know when someone might “go”. 🙂
    Check your shelter gears & gadgets and be sure you know how to exit your shelter safetly & properly. With that, be sure to tell someone that you are in your shelter so if a house collapses on top, emergency crews can find you/rescue you in a timely manner.
    Thanks, Carrie! Be safe and Happy Spring!

      1. We also keep a weather radio in our bucket disposable vinyl gloves and a dust mask in case there is hazz-Matt

  2. We also keep some sort of lighting should the electricity go out. (a battery powered lantern is great) Just keep the batteries out of it in a separate baggie. We have found it prolongs the life of the batteries and the lantern. Same with a radio of some sort; remember to check for reception first. Our cellar is outside and it gets a touch humid with the weather, so everything is kept in some sort of sealed container. We also have a deck of cards and some paper and pencils. Since the inside is cement, the kids added some sidewalk chalk to write on the walls. We get a kick going down and reading the messages they have left in the past.
    I am NOT crazy about having to go to the storm shelter, but since we have made it a sort of “haven” for the kids, they actually have asked in non-stormy weather to take a picnic and game down just for the fun of it.

    1. Those are a good idea Pamela – I am terrified of storm shelters. I know that seems silly but I am a bit fearful of small places. We are definitely adding in sidewalk chalk.

  3. The potty was my first thought! But on that note… Either Gatorade or empty gatorade bottle… you know… for the boys!

  4. Add one more thing to the list.
    Make sure you have shoes walking out after a storm you need to protect your feet no telling what you might step on!
    Stay safe everyone

  5. I always take my laptop and I have a few Disney movies stashed in there for the girls to watch. We have a bucket with a little potty lid. I stock it with rice Krispy treats, goldfish etc. also if I see a small cheap toy at the store I put those in there. They enjoy playing with a new toy. I was thinking of buying egg crate or something similar maybe memory foam? to sit on, blankets work but floor gets cold ours is metal.(flat safe)

    1. We used cinder blocks with a 2×8 on top to make a place to sit. We store our water and other things under the seating and the steps. I use a rubber maid container to put my stuff in for under the steps. Something not mentioned is I keep a few beach towels since we have to go outside to get into our shelter… just in case it’s raining. I also have tools to shut off our gas lines and water lines in case of a disaster along with a few first aid items.

  6. Speaking of a “potty”… a friend of my husband said that they keep a 5 gallon bucket (with lid) 1/2 full of kitty litter. Makes sense!

  7. We had a laptop with a USB tv tuner. That way we could watch the weather to see where the tornado is or if it has passed us. Cell phones, even if you cannot make a call, most text messages can get through.

  8. I have an emergency wind-up lantern with a cell-phone charger and radio that I bring, and after last week’s time spent down in the hidey-hole I have 4 tap-lights, they can be hung on a nail on the sides of the cellar to keep it lit up.

    1. YES!! To the airhorn! You could be buried under a ton of debris. If you’re in a rural area rescue may take awhile. The kids can cover their ears. Or stay buried alive!
      Getting out is the priority at that point.

  9. I suggest a five gallon bucket with lid and add some kitty litter in it. Oh and a roll of toilet paper!

    1. That is perfect! I like that idea. I already have a couple of 5 gal buckets from home depot for growing tomatoes in. All I need is the kitty litter now. Thank you for the great idea!!!

  10. We will have backpacks made for each member of our family. We have a small safe that we will keep copies of important paperwork in.

  11. I have my sons’ bike helmets ready to put on if need be. Living in Oklahoma, you can never be too safe. They both have whistles for around their necks if we should get separated. We also live near an area that could flood. Ear plugs to help block out some od the noise if they get too scared of the noise. I bought a bundle of red glow stick necklaces on eBay for any emergency that we lose power. Those are in our emergency car pack and tornado bag as well.

  12. What do you use for a potti? If you are stuck in there for a few days, you are going to need to go.

    1. 5 gal. bucket, heavy duty trash bags for it, ‘pool noodle’ cut to fit the top (for a little comfort), kitty litter/sawdust (to absorb the odors).

  13. A electronic copy of all important photos (wedding, baby etc) on a usb is a good idea to keep in the shelter 🙂

  14. An electronic copy of all important photos (wedding, baby etc) on a usb or thumb drive is good to keep in the shelter 🙂

  15. We just had a storm shelter installed. They told us to keep baking soda opened and in the shelter to absorb mosture.
    Just thought it might help someone else.

  16. I plan on adding motion detector lights (the installer brought our shelter today, but it was raining, hopefully he can install it tmw) also a whistle in case you need to alert someone where u are!!

  17. After Halloween, buy glow-sticks/ snap lights usually marked down to 1/2 price.
    Blow-up air mattresses for kids to lie on– will store compactly until ready to use.
    Along with that ‘bucket potty’, include some hand sanitizer.

  18. A small sack of diapers and wipes. A second 5 gal bucket for trash with lid for stinky diapers. Just in case your there for a while.

  19. Weather radio batteries flashlight two way radio shared with neighbor, blankets. food, water, pets, battery powered fan, pet food, pet cage, butane lighter

  20. Definitely a fan, in addition to all the other comments. It can get so hot!!!!! We found a magnetic tent fan and it’s pretty amazing! We stick it to the metal ceiling. My husband also painted, added a mirror, lots of toy magnets, and added those vinyl wall stickers to our old in ground shelter once we had a baby. It made the venture less scary and more fun for her!!!

  21. We keep a sawdust potty (10-gallon industrial bucket with seat/lid) and a cube of stall shavings – works better than kitty litter and is lighter. Sanitary items & a first aid kit. Folding cots & chairs. Extra cash. A car battery & cables to run our sump pump when the electricity goes out. Some folding hand fans too – it gets hot afterwards. A chainsaw and a bottle jack. We spent Hurricane Katrina in our newly finished storm cellar, and a 50-ft pine tree fell on the door – we were SO glad we had the jack and chainsaw!

  22. Speaking of a bucket with a lid for toilet – don’t forget some toilet paper. Without it, your stay could become very uncomfortable.

  23. I put a rechargeable battery operated Tv and made an antenna with and old coax tv cable.
    It worked great I had good reception
    Because the cable antenna is mounted outside the shelter.
    I was able to see if we were in the
    Clear to get out.

  24. Living in Arkansas, we have a lot of Tornados so we have a Tornado bag and a list which we include a lot of the items you all have mentioned but a couple of things you might thank about is your ID and Credit Cards, also if you have any handguns bring them to. I had a friend his were in his safe and the storm was so strong it blew the door open and he lost all of his guns.

  25. Make sure to mark all of your belongings with last names/ initials in case they are dropped or lost after the storm. Keep an extra leash for your animals and a toy or two.
    Stay safe!!

  26. Some thoughts: Teach the kids how to use a whistle correctly in a emergency situation. Blasts of three, wait a few seconds and repeat. If the shelter is large enough, hang a shower curtain for privacy when using the dreaded potty bucket. You may have someone other than family in your shelter with you. Have something for the bad breaths in that small space. And don’t forget to take the Family Bible if you have one. Don’t want to lose it. If you are going to take the freaked out cat with you, make sure you already have a litter box in place. The dog will doo whatever, just be ready. Plan on being stuck there for days. Paper towels, toilet paper, Kleenex, plastic bags, pillows. Whatever size shelter you have, go and sit in it for 10 hours and think of what you should have brought with you.

  27. Οκ some more suggestions.
    A multi tool (Leather man) and some other basic tools
    A first aid kit well stocked.
    Safety glasses and protective mask for any hazard.
    A collapsible shovel.
    A big powerbank
    An old cheap tablet to pass the time.