Here in Texoma, the threat of severe weather in springtime is always very real. In fact, it’s possible we could see some this weekend. But, whether or not we’re actually prepared for the worst could mean the difference between life and death.
Lori Wilson was a freshman at MSU during the 1979 tornado, and was already well aware she lived in tornado alley.
“My father grew up in Wichita Falls and he was just one of those that made sure we knew what to do, He also told us, though, ‘Well they always hit North of the Red River we’ll be OK, but just in case here’s what we need to do,'” said Wilson. “That was really about it, just an awareness.”
And Katrina Farmer, Executive Director for the American Red Cross, agreed. Being prepared can make all the difference.
“It’s very important to have a go kit, because you’re going to put in this kit all the things that you’re going to need to survive for for the first few days after a big storm has come through,” said Farmer.
Sturdy shoes, dust masks, water jugs, and cash in smaller bills, are just a few items, Farmer said you may not think about needing in advance.
Another important item is a plastic document bag. In it you’ll put copies of important items like your social security card, proof of ownership of your home, and medications you’re taking,
“You put this in your go bag, and if everything’s gone you’re…you’re five steps ahead on figuring out what you need to replace,” said Farmer.
“My plan for this home is my laundry room,” Wilson said. “It’s an interior room. So that’s one of the things that they learned after the 1979 tornado, if you can go into a room completely interior it’s a little bit safer than a room that has an outside wall. A lot of times the outside walls will be blown away.”
On ‘Terrible Tuesday, Wilson said fortunately the monster tornado passed about a half mile from her family’s home, where they were as ready as they could be in a bathtub with a mattress over their heads, and with their go kit….just in case.
At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:
Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
Flashlight [Available on the Red Cross Store]
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
First aid kit [Available on the Red Cross Store]
Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
Sanitation and personal hygiene items
Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
Cell phone with chargers
Family and emergency contact information
Emergency blanket [Available on the Red Cross Store]
Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
Games and activities for children
Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
Extra set of car keys and house keys
Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
N95 or surgical masks
Tools/supplies for securing your home
Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
Household liquid bleach
Blankets or sleeping bags
And you can get many of these items April 22-24 during Texas’ new sales tax holiday. That’s where you can save big on some emergency supplies, including storm shutters, emergency ladders, batteries and flashlights.
Red Cross mobile apps also offers the vital information you need to prepare and respond to emergencies — big and small.
Kids can also prepare for emergencies with the Red Cross Monster Guard game online here.