by Texas Homesteader ~
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We had a concrete underground storm shelter installed, but we probably don’t stock it the same as others might.
There are some things that we feel are important and others that we just don’t. Wonder what made the cut?
In wondering what to store in our storm shelter I polled our wonderful Facebook followers. They were so helpful with their suggestions (as they always are).
Using their suggestions as a guide, here’s what we decided would be stocked (and what WOULDN’T) in our shelter.
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First, if you’re considering an underground storm shelter I urge you to read Making Plans For Underground Shelter.
In this article I discuss the considerations that were needed when we were making plans for having a shelter installed. But after it’s installed, another decision must be made… what to store in it?
Things Folks Store In A Storm Shelter
Many in our area love to use their storm shelter to store canned goods & such. I’ve heard it provides a more ideal environment for home-canned food storage.
Some even use their storm shelter to store their wines for the same reason. Others use the storm shelter to store seasonal items, or any manner of things really.
But I don’t plan on using the shelter for any other storage. I want to make sure the floor area is kept clear for a very important reason: It’s easier to clean and easier to see that there’s no creepy-crawlers down there to worry about. #CreepyChildhoodMemory
Stocking Only For Short Stays
Now of course you can go as far as you want with stocking your storm shelter. But I’m assuming that 99% (if not 100%) of our trips down into the shelter will only be about a 20-30 minute duration.
I’m only stocking our shelter for a slightly extended stay of maybe 2 hours.
There are a couple of reasons I’m comfortable with this decision: First, our storm shelter’s GPS location is registered in our county. So first responders know to check for us in the event of an emergency in our area.
And many of our family members live close. Obviously they’d be aware if a storm hit our area too. And we have many local friends as well.
So in the event of an actual disaster there will be any number of people who would be aware and be checking on us to make sure we’re ok.
Because of this I’m not concerned about trying to survive long term underground. I won’t be stocking food, cases of water, etc.
You’ll want to decide the length of stay you’re most comfortable stocking for. But keep in mind that with those decisions might come other maintenance tasks – how often you rotate the items you store down there for freshness, etc.
For our purposes we’ll only be stocking for a short stay during a typical 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 young children could be joining us in this shelter.
Little ones can’t necessarily ‘hold it’ like adults can. So I saved 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. And that’s a very important part of my comfort-level expectations of running underground in the middle of the night during a storm.
Not worrying about spiders, scorpions, etc. tucked into a chair makes me feel better about rushing down there in the middle of the night and sitting on that chair.
In this storage cooler we’ve included a couple of folding chairs to sit on while in the shelter. We may also add a couple of 5-gallon lidded buckets to store in this large cooler as well.
5-gallon buckets are inexpensive & can be used for additional seating if our neighbors show up. And if needed they can also be used for lidded storage for the shelter.
But remember, my intent is to keep the floor of the shelter as clear as possible so that periodic ‘critter’ inspection can be done quickly & easily. So right now everything fits neatly inside the cooler.
I also have 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 water 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.
And to be honest I can’t imagine that I’d run to the safety of an underground storm shelter during a frightening powerful storm and declare “Boy howdy I’m thirsty!” Still those water bottles are there in case they’re needed.
We also have *Battery-Powered LED lights for lighting needs in our storm shelter. The one we have has a remote control light switch that reaches 50 feet.
But instead of using a remote-control light switch I think we’ll probably simply mount our lights on the ceiling of the shelter right at the entrance. We can press the lights to turn them on manually as we go into the shelter.
It just seems simpler to me, and simpler is better in an emergency! But decide for yourself what kind of lighting might work best for you and your family.
We tested for wifi cell signal down in the shelter with the door closed. I found the wifi signal doesn’t quite reach down there using our current wifi router.
But our cellphone’s data service is almost full strength down inside the shelter. Of course if a tornado disabled the nearby cell tower that data signal may not be available.
But on a typical stint down there in a storm we use our cellphone’s data signal to track radar, etc. as long as the tower remains intact & there is signal available.
But RancherMan is considering the purchase of a * wifi repeater/extender to extend the range of our home router’s wifi service. That might give us a little stronger signal, but we’ll see if that’s even needed.
Grab-N-Go Emergency Kit
My dad has an emergency bag loaded and by the door. It’s ready to grab on his way out to the storm shelter. (He lives in a section of Oklahoma known as Tornado Alley so he goes to his storm shelter a lot!)
So I may follow his lead and make up a small emergency kit of my own to grab & go on my way to our shelter. But I don’t want it to be too large nor loaded with too much, just a few things I might need.
In my small emergency kit I’ll place a small LED flashlight & a small fleece lap blanket. I figure although we’ll already have light down there from the battery-powered lights I mentioned above, it might comfort the kids to have a small LED flashlight in their hands.
I’ve also purchased a small *Battery-Operated Fan for my grab-n-go kit. Since there will potentially be six people in our underground shelter at one time, it might make it more comfortable to at least have some air circulating.
I’m figuring each spring I’ll load up my emergency kit with these few items, check and refresh batteries if needed, etc.
Another very helpful Facebook follower suggested that we put some sort of moisture remover in our underground shelter to eliminate any musty odors. Now there’s something I never would have thought of.
MAN I love our helpful Facebook followers!
This small single container of *Damp Rid was only a couple of bucks. I’ll open it up in the spring when I tidy up & check our shelter supplies to make sure we have everything we need in our storm shelter.
Misc Items We Might Need
I also added a piddle pad stored in the storage cooler since we’ll scoop Bailey up and take her to the shelter with us for her safety.
You know how pups can get when they’re nervous.
I also added a large absorbent beach towel inside the sealed storage cooler. In all probability we’ll be making our dash to the storm shelter in heavy rain. We’ll be able to dry off with this towel to keep from getting chilled.
So there ya go! There’s a list of all the shelter supplies 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 inside a closed container.
Also be sure to check out my post about annual maintenance to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises when scampering down into the shelter to escape a storm in the middle of the night!
What about you? What’s your most important must-have shelter supplies in your underground storm shelter?
Links In This Post:
- Considerations When Installing An Underground Shelter
- * Igloo 100-Qt Cooler
- *Battery-Powered LED light kit
- * Wifi Repeater/Extender
- *Battery-Operated Fan
- *Damp Rid Removes Moisture
Other Weather-Related Posts:
- Our Underground Storm Shelter
- What To Stock In Our Underground Storm Shelter
- Spring Maintenance Chores For Our Storm Shelter
- Winter Ice Storm Creates Havoc
- How To Stay Warm When The Power Goes Out
- Emergency Preparedness With A Solar Oven
- Drought: Optimism When It’s Out Of Your Control
- 5 Frugal Things: Winter Storm Edition
- 3 Rainwater Catchment Methods We Use
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