Prepare for a Tornado and Create a Mini DIY Emergency Kit

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Prepare for a Tornado

It’s seems that tornado season has come early in some parts of the country. I hope it’s not any kind of indicator of what’s to come this year!

Even though we may have tornado warnings…there isn’t much you can do to prepare for a tornado completely. When one strikes we just have to deal with it as it comes. There are a few things that you can do to be a bit more prepared. And I think we can all agree that homestead living is all about being prepared for when you need it the most!

Here are a few tips you can do to Prepare for a Tornado:

  1. Get a weather radio. I prefer the crank radios so you can use them even if you don’t have power. You may have heard from me before that you should get weather radio and I still fully stand by that as my number one advice for weather preparedness. You may not be able to access internet, have power for tv, or have cell phone reception, but you can always crank up a weather radio to find out what is going on and where.
  2. Know your families plan. Do you have a certain room that you need to go to? If somehow you get separated do you know where you are going to meet up and are there any ways to communicate with each other?
  3. Create mini emergency kits and place them around the house. Below I will show you what mine look like!

It’s also important to know what to look for to be able to identify tornadic weather in your area. Before a tornado, you will see the clouds turn green and purple. You may get hail or it may get very cold (indicting hail is nearby). The clouds may begin to rotate. (And even though that may sound like a clear-cut sign, I’ve found it to be the least accurate. Focus on the cloud color and hail.) The air will get very still and the wind will stop. Also if you have any animals, pay attention to their behavior. Normally before a storm, animals will get very anxious or try to hide or find shelter.

If you are listening to a weather radio, a Tornado Watch means that conditions are right for a tornado to appear. A Tornado Warning means that a funnel cloud has been spotted. You may want to also check out these tips from of specifics to prepare and what to do after a tornado.

Funnel clouds can form quickly so if you see any of these indicators, be ready to take shelter in a basement or a room in the middle of the house with no windows (such as a bathroom).

Another thing you might want to do to prepare for a tornado is to create a Mini DIY Emergency Kit. These are just simple kits that you can place in various rooms in your house to have to grab in case of an emergency. If you want to put together a bigger, 72 Hour Kit you can check out my post on that. Here’s what I put together in my DIY Emergency Kit:

  • Waterbottles
  • Energy Bars
  • Dried Fruit
  • Pain Reliever
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight + Batteries (Or a Crank Flashlight)
  • Mylar Blanket


Label the box Emergency Kit and store in rooms throughout the house. You may also want to store one in a car, or in any other places you might be.

Hopefully, you won’t have to use these kits but it’s good to have them ready just in case!

Something else you need to know, especially if you live in an area that is prone to events like tornadoes is How to Decode Weather Radio Warnings. What good is a weather radio if you don’t know what it’s saying? Also, you may want to learn some Old Fashioned Ways to Predict the Weather. The weathermen don’t always know what’s coming!

Get even more tips on Preparedness here!

What do you do to prepare for a tornado? What do you put in your own DIY Emergency Kit?


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  1. As silly as it sounds here in Oklahoma City they tell you to keep some kind of helmet for everyone in the family in your tornado shelter or closet. They always say here that alot of times people die of head injuries during tornadoes and a helmet might help protect you. They also tell you to make sure you have your shoes on during severe weather and a pair of thick work gloves for all adults so that if you need to move debris to get out of your house you can do so without being hindered by injuries to your hands.

  2. Interesting about the helmets. I think thats a great idea.
    I agree that sometimes you dont see the rotation of any clouds and seeing that perfect funnel is often not what you see when you’re under a tornado.
    I’ve been thru a couple that were nearby unbeknownst to me, and then we were directly under another one. First it was hot & stock still, then started hailing & the temp probably dropped 50 degrees and then the big ol boat car we were driving started bouncing literally, up & down about 6 times until I screamed at my hubby to drive down into the ditch. When we did, it stopped bouncing and eventually it passed us by.. That was scary! If we’d been driving a little 4 cylinder car, we’d probably have gotten picked up & thrown around.

    Something we always instructed our kids to do if we werent home was to drag their mattress into the hallway in the middle of the house and cover themselves with them. And of course, we always had tornado watch parties. 😉

  3. Dont forget to pack an emergency diaper bag. Put all of this in individual Ziploc. diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, binkies, blankets, extra clothes. A good place to store the gallon of water is in the baby seat. (once a storm comes up.) if you arent keeping the baby in it . Preparing a go kit for kids is smart too.. thinks they eat, things they will drink and things that will keep their attention. Rain, mud and other icky things can get into your packed bags and boxes. Putting things in zip top bags or even double or triple bagged in wal-mart bags is a good option. Remember water and tolet paper are supplies that go fast, no matter how much you think you have you prob dont have enough. And those who have family on meds your dr can write you a 90 day supply to keep on file at pharmacy or to keep with you. A written script when all heck breaks loose. How many fleeing Katrina had their meds or their scripts on them. How many got sick because of it. Sanitation afterwards is needed to (5 gal bucket with a tight fitting lid for disposal of waste tied up in walmart bags. There are temp measures that will save lives
    Remember Food, shelter, meds, sanitation, boredom and infant to elder care.
    Ps the canned food in your pantry is a survival boon. esp if the veg you have stored back doesnt have salt in them so the water can be consumed. (Keep idodized salt on the shelf.

  4. Don’t forget a pet survival plan. Food, and water for the pet in your life and a carrier for it. You cant take your pet to most shelters but you can keep your pet in your car or truck if you have its food, litter and litter box (if a cat) and a carrier. (lead and a collar for a dog).

    Most animals left behind in disasters perish.

    Many times you can just pick up the cage of an exotic pet and put it in the car. Fish not so much but you can buy the fish blocks for leaving a tank for a mth or so.
    The more exotic your pet the more you have to plan.

    When you leave your pet in your car try to be outside with it as much as possible, when a hotel room comes up or temp housing try for it first (if in a disasters like Katrina) Remember cars turn into ovens.

    In case of devastation I have a purse my cat will be going into and she is being trained. If I cant get her trained I will be getting kitty trank to keep on hand from my vet. Don’t forget your pets meds when disasters hit.


    1. You will need to consider the reason you are taking cover, leaving your home. Pets in the car is not a good idea in a tornado. They would be better off in an interor room,(bathroom, closet)

      1. I’m pretty sure she was referring to after the natural disaster has hit and finding basic shelter when your home is then inhabitable….

  5. i have my bag packed and i get shoes on everyone. my house was hit by a tornado a few yrs ago- took the roof off and bashed in the garage door etc. lost some stuff. praise God we saw it coming and were not in it!!! now we live in tornado alley and i am petrified!! but we are building an earth sheltered house o we will not have to worry!!

  6. Our emergency kit is in a RED backpack. Easy to take with us! We keep these near our exit to the outdoor shelter.

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  8. I don’t have an emergency kit really but I have a van with 3 kids so I’m sure we have enough snacks, wipes, diapers, extra clothes and such to survive. Back in Alaska I did have a duffle bag of supplies just in case because people die when stranded for just a few min.

  9. I have a box in the car that has some emergency food, water and flares. Plus a small first aid kit. Also i try to keep a pack of juice boxes and,snacks in my car at all times.

  10. During severe weather possibilities we always keep shoes, a flashlight, helmet and robe/jacket by our beds. Our cell phones provide local weather alerts and we keep the volume turned up loud enough to wake us up. Although our community has sirens, the sirens are actually to alert those who are outdoors…they are not made to alert people already inside. If the weather is not too hot, I leave windows open so we can hear them.

  11. I live in the Texas Panhandle and our National Weather Service office offers free storm spotting classes each year. It just takes a couple of hours but it is well worth your time to learn what to look for in the clouds. It sure did make last year storm season a lot less stressful on us.

  12. I don’t agree with the emergency kit container. Your emergency kit should always be in a bag that does not require you having to hold it. You will need both hands to climb over debris and carry children. I prefer backpacks but any type of bag that you can wear hands free will do. You also may want to add a pair of work gloves (debris which can be sharp and jagged not to mention destroyed homes tend to have loose fiber glass everywhere) and a helmet ( to protect yourself from head injuries during the tornado) as mentioned above in previous posts.

    If you take a significant hit don’t plan on being able to access emergency kits in the cars because once the frames have been bent it is hard and sometimes impossible to open the doors. The number one place those kits should be is in your safe place, that way if you survive your kit should survive with you. Sometimes you don’t get much warning and stopping to grab supplies could cost you your life so putting the kit in your safe place in advance will make sure it is already where it needs to be. If you have young children you may want to have ID wristbands in the kit with your cell # on the band because it is real easy to get separated in the chaos.

    I learned all this from the life of hard knocks. I survived a 1/2 mile wide F4 tornado that took out half my town with a special needs child in tow.

    One other things about weather radios. It is a good idea to get one with a loud alarm capable of waking you up. People have died because a tornado struck their house while sound a sleep.

  13. In my ER backpack, I have a months worth of our prescriptions, older pair of eye glasses. We got our Dr’s to write out 3 months worth of our prescriptions and have been paying for them out of our pocket (I save old prescription bottles & we refill from 3 months supply)