Secure Your Life in Any Emergency.

What Should You Have in Your Tornado Emergency Kit?

What to Do During a Tornado

Updated 2019.

With the weather warming up, tornado season is quickly approaching, which means it is time to make sure you and your family are prepared for the season with a tornado kit. Tornadoes occur more frequently during the spring and summer months than the rest of the year. They are some of nature’s most violent storms. The damage tornadoes cause can happen in a matter of seconds. They frequently cause fatalities and devastate homes, businesses, and entire neighborhoods. From January to August of 2017 there were 1,201 tornadoes in the United States alone. That was an increase from an average of 832 tornadoes between 2014 and 2016. In 2017, 34 people lost their lives, and the following year, 10 more lives were taken. The numbers for 2019 are already more than double those of 2018 at 23 following the horrific tornado in Alabama.

The states that are most frequently hit with tornadoes are Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Colorado, Iowa, Alabama, Missouri, and Mississippi. While they are much more common in the Midwest, South, and Southeast, tornadoes can hit any part of the United States. With the ability to develop rapidly from thunderstorms, there can be very little warning for tornadoes. They are sometimes clearly visible to the human eye and at other times are obscured by rain or low hanging clouds.

What to put in an emergency tornado kit:

Because tornadoes can develop rapidly from a thunderstorm, it is important to always be prepared for them. If you live in an area that has frequent or occasional tornadoes, prepare for a tornado by investing in a tornado emergency kit.  When answering the question, “What do you put in a tornado emergency kit?“, it is important to know that a tornado emergency kit is really just an all-hazards emergency  kit.  Your tornado emergency kit should have the supplies you might need after any emergency.  It is not necessary to have a kit for tornadoes, a kit for earthquakes, and a kit for floods. Your kit should meet the following 10 basic disaster survival needs: water, food, breathing protection, first aid, shelter, warmth, communication, light, tools, sanitation & hygiene.

Tornado emergency kit list:

LifeSecure recommends investing in the following items for your tornado emergency kit.

For protection and shelter:

(4) N-95 respirators (face masks)
(4) Emergency thermal blankets
(4) Emergency ponchos
(1) Roll plastic sheeting
(1) Roll duct tape

For turning off utilities and other tasks:

(1) Multifunction tool [needle nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutter,file/cutter, flat file, pointed screwdriver, mini-screwdriver, small screwdriver, screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, can opener, bottle opener,punch, knife blade]
(1) Pair leather-palmed work gloves

For communication and light:

(4) Metal whistles with lanyard
(1) AM/FM radio with two sets of AAA batteries
(1) Flashlight with two sets of D batteries
(8) 12-hour light sticks
(1) LED Safety Signal
(1) Notepad
(1) Pen
(1) Waterproof document pouch

For hydration and nutrition:

(1) 2-gallon water bag for carrying, purifying and storing water
(4) 2,400-calorie food bar (bar contains 12 individually wrapped 200-calorie portions) [5-year shelf life – U.S. Coast Guard approved]
(24) 4 oz. emergency water pouches [5-year shelf life – U.S. Coast Guard approved]
(50) water purification tablets

For medical, hygiene and sanitation needs:

(4) Personal First Aid packet
(1) Family First Aid kit
(1) First Aid Guide
(3) Bio-hazard bags
(1) Toilet paper roll
(24) Moist towelettes

Your tornado emergency kit should have the following characteristics:

  • Compact: so it can be easily moved if you need to relocate during the aftermath of the tornado.
  • Easy-roll/flexible: kits with both easy-rolling wheels and shoulder straps avoid back strain and provide go-anywhere flexibility.
  • Durable protection for supplies: in order to keep supplies safe and undamaged during the tornado.

During the aftermath of an tornado, outside help may not be able to arrive for several days and you and your family will need to be seen and secure as you respond and recover from the injuries that occurred.  It is critical that you are prepared with necessary survival supplies, so that you and your family can survive without power, water, and food in the days following a bad tornado.

David Scott
David co-founded LifeSecure in 2005, just a few months before Hurricane Katrina taught everyone that one can go hungry and thirsty in America and even die before help arrives. For over a decade David has focused on developing and discovering superior emergency and disaster survival solutions - kits and supplies. He has trained community groups in emergency preparedness, helped non-profit organizations prepare emergency kits for needy individuals, conducted community emergency response exercises, and developed emergency plans for non-profit organizations. David makes an ongoing study of how best to prepare for and respond to various natural and man-made disasters, and his mission has been to help others “live Life SECURE” every day by preparing for what may come someday.