I had this whole big paragraph written explaining why I think it’s important to be prepared for severe weather (with bullet points at that!) and then I just decided that this following sentence would pretty much get my point across and I decided to erased my original paragraph:

I lived in Joplin, MO when the F5 tornado demolished the city.

Was I right?  I am pretty sure that gets my point across!  I posted about THE TORNADO when it happened and again here.   That was just after I started this little blog!  I am in no way a safety guru, a weather woman or anything of the sort.  I am just a mom who wants to keep her family safe so take that as you will!

Severe Weather Tips from www.thatswhatchesaid.net



I choose not to live in fear of what Mother Nature can throw at us but live prepared for what she might decide to grace us with.  She and I have a rough relationship so I try not to piss her off too much and just try to anticipate her next move as best I can to keep me and my family safe.   It always works out that my husband is traveling for his job during most of the severe weather so I have to handle the boys, the dog and the house myself.  So I like to be prepared.  I have a storm bag that I keep in the basement and I also have a plan of action when severe weather is anticipated.

It is almost second nature to me now.  I like that.  I have lived in the mid-west all my life so tornados are not a new thing for me.  Joplin was not my first.  I was in a tornado that swept through Liberty, MO (just north of Kansas City, MO) the summer before my senior year in high school.  (1998)  I was at William Jewel College at a Universal Dance Association dance camp!  We hunkered down in the basement of a dorm.  We went home the next day because no power, no roofs and no electricity.

Not everyone is used to tornadoes or even severe storms so I felt obliged to share the contents of my bag and my plan of action.  I’d love to hear your storm preparations as well!  Leave a comment below.  Let’s all learn from one another and keep our families safe!

Here are my Top Items I Add to My Storm Bag:

I choose a back pack for my storm bag so that I can strap it to me and have my hands free.

  1. diapers/wipes/formula (if your kids are still need them)
  2. a few bottles of water (after tornados you normally have boil orders in affect)
  3. protein/special K bars.
  4. Enough trash bags for the # of people in your family (these can be used as rain coats as it normally is storming before/during/after a tornado)  Pop a hole in the bottom seam and put over your body to keep dry.
  5. Cash.  {unless you have time to dig your wallet out of your purse or diaper bag!}
  6. 1 copy of your medical card.  Normally you get one for each family member…I keep at least one in my storm bag.
  7. dog leash
  8. small first aid kit
  9. flash light with extra batteries.
  10. a towel.  So. many. uses.  {sling, blanket, cover for broken glass, throw in over your heads to shield from debris, rope, or just a towel!}
  11. Small candle and lighter
  12. small utility knife or pocket knife.
  13. Phone numbers of close family/friends.  After a storm you are frazzled.  You might not know where your cell is and let’s face it…who actually knows anyone’s number by heart these days?!?  Have them handy.  Rescue personnel have means to communicate and you want to make sure those people can be reached easily.

Things I do when I know storms are coming:

  1. I wear my tennis shoes.  Who wants to be in a tornado and end up barefoot or in flip flops???
  2. I set my kids’ tennis shoes right by our basement stairs on storm nights.  That way I can snatch them up on our way down and put them on them once we are safely in the basement.
  3. I set jackets for my kids by their shoes or down in the basement.  Temperature normally drops after storms and for spring storms, it can be quite chilly.
  4. I make sure my cell phone is fully charged.   Power goes out in storms!  {In severe cases where cell towers are out (Joplin) you cannot make calls but text messages still go through because they use much less bandwidth}
  5. Find my car keys.   I either put them straight in my storm bag or set them by the stairs depending on the time of day.  There would be nothing worse than realizing your car made it through the storm but your keys are in the rubble that was your house. I drive a 4 wheel drive vehicle for many reasons!
  6. I put the walking harness/collar on our dog if he doesn’t already have it on him.
  7. I unlock my doors.  I want people to come in to help if need be.  If there is a storm and we leave our house, I will lock them back up.
  8. Hunt down extra flash lights. No matter how many times I tell my kids the flashlights in the drawer are not for playing with…they get played with.  So I hunt them down and make sure they work.  These can be used if it’s night time to see and also they can be used to signal help if you are trapped under anything.
  9. I also put some candles and a lighter in the basement.  The matches/lighter part is important and often forgotten about!
  10. I throw a few extra pillows and blankets down the stairs {literally give them a good toss down there :) }
  11. If my storm bag is not already in our safe place in the basement, I put it down there.
  12. I turn off my favorite shows and I watch the news.  Watch the weather and follow the warning and directions.  It’s so much better to be safe than sorry!

My Rules for Storms:

  1. Go to the basement when sirens go off.  Just do it.  It can be annoying but what would be more annoying is getting hurt!
  2. Seek shelter in the smallest most inner room of your lowest level.  Best to choose one without a window.
  3. Close the door to the room.  Flying debris is dangerous.   If it gets to that point, cover yourself with a blanket.
  4. Don’t open/crack your windows to “ventilate” your house.  I don’t know how many times I heard the weather people talk about that after THE Joplin Tornado.  That is a wives’ tale.

Again, I don’t live in fear.  Storms don’t run our lives.  Spring and summer are the times when storms happen.  I just like to be prepared.  Here are a few reasons why:   {I took these three days after the tornado.  Some are blurry or there is a reflection because I was taking them through my passenger side window in the car}

Joplin Tornado Aftermath 2011


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Any other prepared people out there??  Have any tips that you’d like to share?  Leave a comment below with your advise or preparations!  Let’s share to keep everyone safe this storm season!    I’d love for you to share this post as well.  Get the word out!  Let’s stay safe this storm season!

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