Response Updates

10 Things You Need in Your Tornado Emergency Kit

Reported by Convoy of Hope

Tornadoes are the whirlwinds of nature’s fury — unpredictable and often devastating. When a tornado hits, there’s minimal time to think, which is why having a tornado emergency kit is so crucial.

It’s not about overpreparing; it’s about ensuring that when disaster strikes, you and your loved ones have what you need to stay safe.

So, what should you pack in your emergency tornado kit?

Whether you’re just beginning the process of creating a tornado safety plan or updating your existing emergency supplies, this guide provides a comprehensive emergency kit list for tornado preparedness.

Essentials for Your Tornado Emergency Kit

When the sky turns ominous and the winds start to howl, every second can count. As the saying goes, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

This is particularly true for tornado preparedness. The cornerstone of readiness lies in assembling an emergency kit equipped with fundamental items that can make the difference between safety and potential harm.

Here are the indispensable items that should be in every tornado emergency kit.

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1. Water

At the top of our list is water. Aim for at least one gallon of water per person, per day.

Be sure you store a three-day supply to keep you hydrated till help arrives or utilities are restored. Additional gallons should be on hand for basic hygiene and cooking use.

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2. Nonperishable Food

A tornado might interrupt electricity, gas, and water, making cooking nearly impossible.

Stock up on ready-to-eat meals, energy bars, and canned foods.

NOAA Weather Radio

3. NOAA Weather Radio

An essential item, this radio will keep you updated on tornado watches and warnings. Remember, knowledge is power, especially when nature is involved.

Get to know the organizations in your area that offer assistance during or following a disaster.

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4. Flashlight (Extra Batteries)

When the power grid goes down, these will be your guiding light. Don’t forget the extra batteries!

Also, having a charger with a hand crank will keep you updated and double as a charger for your cell phone.

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As just one example of a disaster relief organization, Convoy of Hope partners with churches and other agencies in a community to distribute vital resources after a natural disaster.

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5. First-Aid Kit

Accidents happen, especially during disasters. Your first-aid kit should have bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and necessary medication.

Make sure key prescriptions — insulin for diabetes, as an example — are in good supply.

6. Whistle

A whistle, often overlooked, plays a pivotal role in a tornado emergency kit.

In the aftermath of a tornado a loud, shrill whistle can pierce through the chaos, signaling for help or alerting rescuers to your location.

7. Face Masks or Dust Masks

After a tornado hits, the air may be filled with debris. Masks will ensure you breathe easy.

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8. Multipurpose Tool

Whether it’s for opening cans or making minor repairs, this tool is a must-have.

9. Local Maps

Essential for navigating when familiar landmarks might be damaged or destroyed.

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10. Important Documents

Your insurance policies, personal ID, and bank account records should be kept safe in a waterproof container.

Let’s Dive a Bit Deeper

While the basics will undoubtedly offer you a lifeline in emergencies, there’s a layer of preparation that goes beyond just essentials.

This deeper dive into tornado readiness can enhance your resilience and comfort during and after the storm.

It’s all about ensuring you’re not just surviving, but also maintaining a semblance of normalcy during the chaos.

These supplementary items can elevate your preparedness.

  • Emergency Plans
    Have a clear plan for where to go and how to communicate with your family during and after a tornado.
The EF5 tornado that moved through Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013, took 24 lives, destroyed 1,150 homes, and left an estimated $2 billion in damages.
  • Personal Items
    Think about personal sanitation (such as wet wipes and garbage bags) and comfort items to keep morale high.
  • Clothing
    Durable shoes, warm clothing, and rain gear can be lifesavers in a storm’s aftermath.
  • Cash
    With ATMs and banks potentially out of action, having cash on hand is essential.

Important To Remember

Consistency and awareness in preparedness can be as crucial as the kit itself. As circumstances change and time moves on, your initial preparations might need adjustment.

Regular checks, updates, and knowledge-sharing with your household are paramount.

With that in mind, here are some key pointers to ensure that your tornado emergency kit remains relevant and effective for any situation.

  • • Each person’s needs are unique. Customize your tornado kit based on the number of people in your household and their specific needs.
  • • Regularly check your kit, replace expired items, and ensure batteries are still in working condition.
  • • Familiarize everyone in the household with where the kit is stored and its contents.

Next Steps

Preparing an emergency kit for tornado situations might seem daunting, but it’s an absolute necessity. As you sit down and think about your emergency plans, always keep in mind the importance of preparing for a tornado.

Whether it’s:

  • • Storing that critical gallon of water per person, or
  • • Keeping an extra set of batteries handy,

every step helps. Stay informed, stay prepared, and most importantly, stay safe!

Free Guide: Family Preparedness Guide

Preparedness is vital for millions of people at risk of being affected by a disaster. With proper preparation, you can provide peace of mind and an extra measure of protection for you and your household.

This guide is packed with valuable information like:

  • • Family Communication Plan
  • • Evacuation Plans
  • • Proper Pet Care
  • • Weather Monitoring
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Convoy of Hope


Since 2011, Convoy of Hope's #Agriculture initiative has trained more than 25,000 participants in best practices, with the goal of reaching 100,000 by 2030. We're sharing a staff member's experience seeing this programming in #Tanzania: