Tornado Kit Checklist: Use our Tornado Preparedness Checklist to Create your Tornado Kit

September 13, 2022 5 min read

tornado preparation checklist and supplies

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm and touches down on the ground. 


Tornadoes wreak havoc every single year, destroying property and taking lives. Therefore, you need a tornado emergency kit if you live in a tornado-prone area. A tornado kit will help keep you and your family safer and more comfortable in the event of a deadly tornado. 


Keep reading to learn about what we include in our tornado preparedness kit checklist. And click here to download our complete survival guide, which includes a printable version of our tornado preparation checklist.

 

Understand Tornado Terminology

 

First, let’s go over a couple of terms. The difference between a tornado watch and a warning could mean your life. Therefore, it’s vital to know the difference between the two and to stay up to date with tornado alerts.  

 

Tornado Watch

A tornado watch signifies that the current weather conditions for tornadoes are favorable. Typically, a tornado watch covers a large geographic area encompassing multiple cities, counties, and sometimes states. Tornado watches usually last for several hours. 

What You Should Do Under a Tornado Watch

  • Try to locate your family members and pets. 
  • Activate your family disaster plan. 
  • Monitor the NOAA weather radio and local news for important updates.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Locate your tornado survival kit. 

Tornado Warning

A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted or indicated by local weather radar. When a tornado warning is activated, it is time to take action because there is now an imminent danger to your life and property.


What You Should Do Under a Tornado Warning 

If You Are Inside:

If You Are Outside: 

Take shelter immediately in a safe structure

Do not try to outrun the tornado with a vehicle.

If you do not have access to a tornado shelter, go to a windowless room on the lowest floor

Do not go under an overpass or bridge. 

Cover yourself with a mattress, sleeping bag, or blanket, and wear a helmet. 

Seek shelter in a low-lying ditch or ravine. 

 

 

Identify a Safe Bug-In Location

tornado warning survival guide download 

In the event of a tornado warning, you must bug-in to a safe location. Most folks who live in tornado-prone areas may already have a prepped tornado shelter in the basement of their home. 


Basements and storm cellars are by far the safest options. However, if you do not have access to either, the next best option is a windowless interior room on the lowest level of the building. 


We recommend that you prep your bug-out location with a tornado preparedness kit containing a  family emergency kit, water, and freeze-dried food among other emergency supplies. 

Stay Connected To Emergency Notifications

 

During a tornado watch or warning, it is crucial to stay connected to important news and notifications. 


We recommend doing so with NOAA Weather Radio. You can also monitor for important announcements using smartphone applications


In the event that you, or someone in your family, becomes separated during a tornado warning, we recommend formulating a family communication plan ahead of time. A family emergency plan tells your family what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in case of an emergency.   

 

Prepare Your Home Before Tornado Season

 

If you live in a tornado-prone area, we recommend you take steps to prepare your home in the event of a tornado. Preventative measures to prepare your home can drastically reduce the damage your home experiences.

  • Remove dead or damaged limbs from trees to make them more wind resistant and to remove falling overhead hazards.

  • Remove any debris or loose items from around your front and backyards. Things like BBQs and wood piles can become missiles in strong winds.

  • Consider installing permanent tornado shutters to protect your windows.

  • Reinforce your garage doors so that they cannot be destroyed and allow strong winds to enter your home and potentially lift the roof off.

Besides taking preventative measures to prepare for tornadoes before they happen, it’s equally important to know what to do after a tornado has passed through your area.

 

Build A Tornado Preparedness Kit

 

tornado emergency checklist

 

You can never be too prepared for a tornado. It’s better to be safe than sorry. So if you live in a tornado-prone area, we cannot recommend enough that you prep a tornado kit to help you and yours survive more comfortably. 


Every tornado kit will be different. Over time, you will figure out what works best for you and your family. However, here is a list of recommended supplies to pack into your tornado kit:

  • A bug-out bag or storage container.

  • Nutritious, non-perishable freeze-dried, or dehydrated emergency food.
     
  • Emergency water.

  • First aid supplies, including essential prescriptions.

  • Flashlights, lanterns, and spare batteries.

  • Personal sanitation and hygiene products.

  • Sleeping bags, blankets, and extra warm clothing.

  • Important documents, including insurance and banking information, wills, and personal identification.

  • Battery-powered NOAA weather radio.

  • Formula and diapers if there is an infant in the house.

  • Extra animal food and medication if there are pets in the house.

  • Emergency supplies and tools, such as wrenches, screwdrivers, can openers, fire extinguishers, face masks, cups, utensils, and camp stoves. 

Know What To Do If You’re Caught In Your Vehicle

 

man inside a car is listening to the news as part of the tornado preparedness plan

 

 

Tornados can come at unexpected times. Depending on the scenario, you may not be indoors when the tornado is on its way. If this is the case, you will need to know what to do if caught outdoors or in your high water vehicle during a tornado. 


  1. Attempt to walk to shelter in a nearby basement or sturdy building.
     
  2. If you cannot walk to shelter, return to your vehicle, fasten your seatbelt, and bug-out to the closest sturdy structure. Stay away from bridges and highway overpasses.

  3. If you are caught in high winds and flying debris while in your vehicle, we recommend pulling over and parking. Keep your seatbelt fastened and the engine running.


  4. Keep your head as low as possible. Cover your head with any protective material like spare clothing or blankets. 

What To Do After A Tornado

 

 After a tornado weather event, the most important thing you can do is remain calm and alert. We recommend you continue listening for instructions and information from emergency first responders and local officials. 


Besides that, here are a few more tips to help keep you safe after a tornado.

  • Keep your family hydrated and fed with a 72-hour emergency kit.

  • Keep a safe distance from power lines and puddles.

  • Pay attention to where you are walking to avoid stepping on broken glass and other sharp objects.

  • Do not enter damaged houses or buildings, as they could collapse at any given moment.
     
  • Do not use lighters or matches in case of nearby leaking gas pipes or fuel tanks. 

Final Thoughts for Tornado Preparation

 

Tornado preparedness is no joke. A tornado emergency kit ready for when a tornado inevitably strikes will make all the difference. By following our tornado preparedness checklist, you can keep your family and property much safer and more comfortable. 


Visit our website to learn about the best prepper food and to get an emailed PDF version of our ultimate survival guide checklist


And don’t forget to check out our Practical Prepper Blog to learn about important survival skills like cooking without electricity. And as always, send over any questions you might have to any of our product experts. We are here to help!