Severe weather essentials

Published On: May 28 2014 12:12:43 PM EDT
Updated On: May 30 2014 06:20:00 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Summer weather brings the potential of severe storms as well as the start of hurricane season, so it's important to have a plan.  Does yours include protection for your head and your feet?

"The best warning in the world with the most advance knowledge is not going to help if people don't proactively respond to that and seek the shelter that they need," said Kansas State University Climatologist Mary Knapp.

Knapp says your severe weather plan should include an emergency kit that not only includes the essentials like canned food and water, but also a helmet. A report found that the 2011 Joplin tornado resulted in a lot of head injuries from falling debris.

Knapp advises to wear a helmet during a tornado and hide under a sturdy support.
Also make sure you put on some tennis shoes.

"After an event like that, there's a lot of broken glass all over the place. It can be in the carpet. It can be in the grass and so having sturdy shoes, and again we're not talking flip flops, we're talking sturdy tennis shoes or boots or something of that nature so that you have the best protection from any of that debris that might be out there," said Knapp.

The American Red Cross suggests at minimum, your emergency kit include:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit – Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area


Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener


Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

It's also a good idea to have a kit for your pet. The Red Cross suggests:

Keep your pet’s essential supplies in sturdy containers that can be easily accessed and carried (a duffle bag or covered trash containers, for example). Your pet emergency preparedness kit should include:

  • Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a First Aid kit.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can't escape.
  • Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
  • Food, drinkable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and manual can opener.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
  • Pet bed or toys if easily transportable.

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