by Tammy Taylor
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Last week I wrote about how important it was for me to have an underground storm shelter installed. It’s close to our home at the ranch to be able to stay safe when tornado season hits. There were many considerations for us to make for the actual installation. If you’re considering an underground storm shelter I urge you to read Safety From The Storm – Part I: Seeking Shelter.
But now that our shelter has been installed, what do we stock it with? I polled our wonderful Facebook followers and they were so helpful (as they always are). Using their suggestions as a guide, here’s what we decided would be stocked into our shelter.
Stocking Only For Short Stays
Now of course you can go as far as you want with stocking your shelter. I’m assuming that 99% of our trips down into the shelter will be about a 20-30 minute duration. I’m stocking our shelter for a slightly extended stay of maybe 2 hours. So I won’t be stocking food, cases of water, etc. Of course you’ll want to decide the length of stay you’re stocking for. With those decisions come other maintenance tasks – how often you rotate the items you store down there for freshness, etc. For my purposes, we’re only stocking for a short stay during a severe storm.
One suggestion I heard most frequently is that we should have a covered container in case someone needs to use the bathroom. (can you still use the terminology ‘bathroom’ if there’s no bathroom to use?? LOL)
This is a very good idea. Especially since in all probability our sweet neighbors with their two children will be joining us in this shelter. Little ones can’t necessarily ‘hold it’ like adults can. So I got a clean Folgers can and placed a roll of bathroom tissue inside. If needed this lidded container stands ready to be used.
Compact Storage Doubles As Seating
All of our supplies will be stored in a very large nearly airtight * Igloo 100-Qt cooler that can also double as seating if needed. Having our supplies stored in this large cooler assures there will be no bugs to contend with. Not worrying about critters makes me feel better about rushing down there and sitting on a chair, for instance.
In this storage cooler we’ve included a couple of folding chairs to sit on while down there. We may buy more later but for the time being these two chairs will do.
RancherMan & I will also get a couple of 5-gallon lidded buckets to store in this large cooler. These buckets are inexpensive & can be used for additional seating if our neighbors show up. If need be they can also be used for lidded storage in the shelter. But for now my intent is to keep the floor as clear as possible so that periodic ‘critter’ inspection can be done quickly & easily. So if we get them, my intent is to keep the 5-gallon lidded buckets stored inside the large cooler with everything else.
I also got a couple of bottles of water to use down there if needed. I’m not a big fan of consumables stored for the long term in plastic though.
So even though I know I could store more bottles & just rotate the stock each year, I know myself well enough that it just wouldn’t happen. These two bottles of water should be fine for short stints inside the shelter.
We also have this *Battery-Powered LED light kit for light that we’ll install on the ceiling of the storm shelter. It has with a remote control light switch that reaches 50 feet.
I think we’ll probably simply mount them on the ceiling of the shelter. We can turn the lights on manually when we get down there. It just seems simpler to me, and simpler is better in an emergency!
I tested for wifi cell signal with the shelter door closed and signal doesn’t quite reach down there. But our usual data cell service is almost full strength down inside the shelter. Of course if a tornado disabled the nearby cell tower it may not be available.
Otherwise it’s possible for us to use our smart phones to track radar, etc. as long as there is signal available. RancherMan is considering the purchase of a * wifi repeater/extender to extend the range of our wifi service. That might give us a little stronger signal, but we’ll see if that’s even needed.
Grab-N-Go Emergency Kit
I’ll also take a cue from my dad who has an emergency bag loaded and by the door. It’s ready to grab on his way out to the storm shelter. (again, he’s in Tornado Alley so he goes out there a lot!)
In my emergency kit I’ll place a little LED flashlight & a small fleece lap blanket. I figure although we’ll already have light down there from the kit above, it might comfort the kids to have a small LED flashlight in their hands.
For those stocking for a longer stint in the shelter you can add a small supply of your prescription medications, although you’ll want to make sure to rotate to fresh meds often.
I’ve also purchased a small battery-operated fan. Since there will potentially be six of us in there, it might make it more comfortable to have the air circulating. I’m figuring each spring I’ll load up my emergency kit with these few items.
And another very helpful Facebook follower suggested that we put some sort of moisture remover down there to eliminate musty odors inside our shelter. Now there’s something I never would have thought of. MAN I love our helpful Facebook followers!
This container of * Damp Rid was only a couple of bucks and I’ll open it up in the spring when we go down there to both tidy up & check to make sure we have everything we need in our storm shelter.
So there ya go! There’s everything we could think of that we’d need for a short-term in our storm shelter. I like that everything we’ll be using is tightly stored in a closed container.
Many around here love to use their storm shelter to store canned goods & such. I don’t plan on using the shelter for any other storage because I want to make sure the floor area is kept clear. It’s easier to clean and easier to see there’s no creepy-crawlers down there to worry about. #CreepyChildhoodMemory
Also be sure to check out my post about annual maintenance to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises when I run down there to escape a storm in the middle of the night!
What about you? What’s your most important must-haves in your underground storm shelter?
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