This kit is meant to provide for the basic needs of an individual or family for up to 72 hours in the event of an emergency or disaster when resources will be in short supply. For more information on what items specifically should be included in your plan, please see our Build a Kit webpage.
Inspect Your Home: Paying close attention to the walls and roof. You may need to make some improvements such as bolting the walls to the foundation or attaching "hurricane clips" between wall studs and roof rafters. You may want to contact building inspectors in your city or county about structural concerns that you might have.
Prepare a Shelter:
If your home does not have a basement or storm cellar, locate the safest room in your house and designate it as your storm shelter. An interior room without windows such as a closet, bathroom or the crawl space under a staircase may be the safest place. Lower-level interior bathrooms provide the best protection if no basement is available because the plumbing provides additional sturdiness to the walls.
Mobile homes – even those with tie-downs – are not safe during tornadoes. Mobile homes should always be abandoned during severe weather and plan on sheltering in a nearby sturdy building. If no shelter is available, get out of vehicles and find the most low-lying area (ditch, ravine, etc.) lay flat on your stomach and cover your head with your hands.
Safe Rooms: Building a safe room is another option. Safe rooms are above-ground shelters built to withstand tornado-force winds and flying debris. An existing room, such as an interior bathroom, can be reinforced to function as a safe room while remaining functional as a bathroom. See information from FEMA on Preparing a Safe Room. Manufactured free-standing safe rooms also are available.
Your first concern should be water extraction. It might be necessary to contact a professional extraction service, normally located under "carpet" service in the Yellow Pages. If the floors have carpet, it may be necessary to pull up the carpet and pull the pad out to dry. If you do not dry the carpet and pad, permanent damage (including mold and mildew) may occur. If your furniture becomes wet, place aluminum foil under furniture legs to prevent "bleeding" on the carpet. If you suffer only damp carpets, furniture, and walls, adjust your air conditioner to "cool" and your furnace to "hot." Both air conditioners and heaters dry the air, and the drier the air, the faster your personal belongings will dry. Any remaining mud and dirt on the walls should be cleaned with plain water and a brush.
CodeRED Weather Warn only sends calls to phone numbers linked to addresses in the storm's path. Although you may have rain at your house or hear thunder, you may not be in a severe warning area. To find out more about how Weather Warn works, view the CodeRED Weather Warn video.
A severe weather watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop. A severe weather warning is issued by the National Weather Service when severe weather has been detected in an area either by radar indicators or trained storm spotters. For more information, please see our Watches vs. Warnings webpage.