** This is not our shelter, but looks a lot like it.
It’s that time of year again to start thinking about Spring emergencies. In Oklahoma, that usually mean severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. This past weekend, the whole family worked for about an hour to clean out our storm shelter. We have one of those tornado shelters that they installed in the garage. It’s really handy, but our garage is not the cleanest and so our shelter gets pretty dusty and dirty too. The door to the shelter has some vent holes (good thing, right?) and the dust/dirt/spiders get into the shelter very easily during the seasons we aren’t using it. My husband took all the steps and benches out and I cleaned them using my vacuum attachments. Then we put the vacuum cleaner down in the shelter and cleaned the floor and walls of the shelter that way.
Another thing still on the to-do list is to put together an emergency kit. FEMA recommends having an emergency kit year-round, ready to take it with you if you need to evacuate. I admit, I do not do this. I always wait until there is eminent threat of emergency and then I throw something together quickly. What goes into your own emergency kit will be unique to you and your family. My tornado emergency kit includes snacks, toys, blankets, bottled water, battery-powered lanterns, and a change of clothes for everyone. Because we have a shelter, we can shelter in place. We don’t need to travel anywhere for tornado season. I pack the change of clothes in case there is significant damage and we can’t stay in our home once the storm ends. The rest is for temporary sheltering during the storm. I have written on the topic of emergency kits before, and more detail can be found on my previous post.
After our shelter was cleaned out, we had a brief “tornado drill” with our kiddos. We want them to know it is serious, but we don’t want them to be afraid to get into the shelter. We all went down into it, sat on the bench and closed the door. It gets pretty dark down there. We have battery operated lanterns but we didn’t turn them on during our drill because they need new batteries (add that to my list!) I sure hope we don’t have to use it this year, but I am so glad we have it. And now I’m glad it is free from spider webs, dead bugs and old leaves!