Safety From The Storm – Part II: Essential Items To Keep In A Storm Shelter

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Do you wonder what you should store in your storm shelter for emergencies?

Here’s what we decided would be stocked (and what WOULDN’T) in our shelter and why.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock in it? Read how we decided what items should be included #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a small commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)

Underground Storm Shelter For Safety

We have an underground concrete storm shelter. It keeps us safe when tornados are predicted.

Underground storm shelter protects against tornados and dangerous storms. #TexasHomesteader

But we probably don’t stock our underground shelter the same as others might.

There are some things that we feel are important, and other things that we just don’t. Wonder what made the cut? 

How Do We Stock An Underground Storm Shelter?

 In this article I discussed 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?

Items People Often Store In A Tornado Shelter

Many in our area use their storm shelter for storage:

Shelf-Stable Food Overage

Home-Canned Food Storage

Wines Benefit From The Cool/Damp Environment

Seasonal items & decorations

They may have any manner of reasons for wanting to store these things in their storm shelter. The cooler environment or just extra space I suppose.

But I don’t plan on using our 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 to see that there’s no creepy-crawlers down there to worry about. #CreepyChildhoodMemory

Spider and spider web. #TexasHomesteader

Stocking Storm Shelter Only For Short Stays

You can go as far as you want with stocking your storm shelter. From just a short time need or several days even.

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:

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.

Many of our family members live close and will be checking on us in the event of a severe storm in our area.

We have many local friends to check on us.

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.

Be prepared for Lightening storm rain clouds #TexasHomesteader

Because of this I’m not concerned about trying to survive long term underground.

I won’t be stocking food, cases of water, etc. in our storm shelter.

You’ll want to decide the length of stay for which you’re most comfortable preparing. But keep in mind that with those decisions might come other maintenance tasks such as 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.

Bathroom Needs In A Storm Shelter

I needed a covered container for potential bathroom needs. Especially if young children are 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.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock in it? Read how we decided what items should be included #TexasHomesteader

If needed this lidded container stands ready to be used.

Compact Storage Container Doubles As Seating

All of our storm shelter 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 or hidden spiders 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.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock in it? Read how we decided what items should be included #TexasHomesteader

Not worrying about spiders, scorpions, etc. tucked inside 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.

But 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 large cooler.

Some people use 5-gallon lidded buckets to store supplies in their storm shelter. 5-gallon buckets are inexpensive & can be used for additional seating if needed. 

Hydration Needs In A Storm Shelter

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 a case of 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 the event that they’re needed. 

Underground Storm Shelter Battery-Powered Lighting

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.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock in it? Read how we decided what items should be included #TexasHomesteader

But we can also 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. 

Decide for yourself what kind of lighting might work best for you and your family.

Weather Radar Tracking Inside A Storm Shelter

We tested for wifi cell signal down in the shelter with the door closed. The wifi signal reaches fine 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. 

There are many ways a smart phone helps on the Homestead. #TexasHomesteader

On a typical stint inside the shelter we use our cellphones to track radar & news. As long as the electricity stays on or the tower remains intact & there is signal available.

But if needed a * wifi repeater/extender will extend the range of a home router’s wifi service. 

Grab-N-Go Emergency Kit Supply Suggestions

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!)

In my small emergency kit I’ll place a small LED flashlight & a small fleece lap blanket to comfort any children who might be in the shelter with us. 

LED Flashlight for emergency storm shelter. #TexasHomestaeder

I’ve purchased a small *Battery-Operated Fan for my grab-n-go kit. It makes it more comfortable to have air circulating.

Each spring I load up my emergency kit with these few items, check and refresh batteries if needed, etc.

How To Remove Moisture From Underground Storm Shelter

This small single container of *Damp Rid was only a couple of bucks. But it keeps the moisture down in our underground shelter.

Now that we have our underground storm shelter installed, what should we stock in it? Read how we decided what items should be included #TexasHomesteader

I’ll open it up in the spring when I tidy the shelter & check our shelter supplies.

Other Misc Shelter Supplies To Consider

I also added a large absorbent beach towel inside our 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.

If you have pets you might also add a piddle pad for them. You know how pups can get when they’re nervous.

Our storm shelter has piddle pads stocked since we'll be taking Bailey into the shelter with us if needed. #TexasHomesteader

Other Posts About Our Underground Storm Shelter

If you’re considering an underground storm shelter I urge you to read my posts about our experience:

Making Plans For Underground Shelter – Considerations when having a storm shelter installed.

Annual maintenance – Spring maintenance to assure the storm shelter is ready for tornado season.

Installing a concrete underground storm shelter. #TexasHomesteader

So there ya go! There’s my list of all storm shelter supplies we think 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.

What about you? What’s your most important must-have shelter supplies in your underground storm shelter?


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Tagged in  A list of all our spring-themed posts. #TexasHomesteader  All our Texas weather-related posts. #TexasHomesteader   

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Collecting Water

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10 thoughts on “Safety From The Storm – Part II: Essential Items To Keep In A Storm Shelter

  1. Joe Eppes

    We have just had high winds, scattered tornados and heavy rains all around us. Looking at purchasing an above ground shelter….. These ideas sure help for planning !!!! Thanks a bunch…Any suggestion on how to pick out a shelter? Prefer steel..
    Arlington, Texas

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      The weather this spring has been absolutely crazy here in NE Texas, Joe. We researched safe rooms but they were just way too expensive for our budget so we went with below ground concrete. RancherMan says your best bet is to google safe rooms and your zip code to find companies near you that sell safe rooms. Some will install them in your garage, some will integrate into your building plan if you’re building a new home. Good luck!

  2. Lil Raisin Acres

    Ditto the others that mentioned granola or other non-perishable snacks/food and the pry bar. Good post!

  3. daisy

    Great post and what a good idea about the Damp Rid! Thanks for posting this on The Maple Hill Hop. Consider yourself pinned! ;0)

  4. CTY

    I think a blanket or two might not be a bad idea–kids like to cuddle.
    One more thought–seeking shelter from a severe storm can cause high levels of stress. Have a barf bag on hand; sometimes nerves are shot & the body just reacts–can happen to kids or adults. Maybe have some smelling salts, just in case someone feels overwhelmed & faints.
    I pray you never need to use it.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGosh, never even thought of a barf bag! You’re right, a storm like that can get to the nerves, especially with a child. If they were to throw up inside the shelter, it’d be all over for ALL of us! Thanks for the tip.

  5. ColleenB.

    Oh, and don’t forget about a dog leash and also very important is shut off your utilities; especially if you have gas. Make sure they are all shut off when leaving the house

  6. ColleenB.

    emergency kits

    Important: a good loud (coach’s )whistle or air horn

    weather radio


    Simple food…. (kept handy to take down with you when storm comes.Keep a three-day supply of simple, non-perishable food and water. Light-weight items that are packed with calories and energy are great options, such as:

    •Granola or energy bars


    •Peanut butter


    •Dried fruit

    • If you have a dog or a cat, put a little dog or cat food in there.

    Lumberjack” clothes. You want protective clothing. Most important—boots, thick socks, solid rugged jeans, good work gloves, and a coat. After a tornado, debris will be everywhere. Wood, glass, nails, and pieces and parts from everything. The boots, socks and jeans will protect your legs and feet. The coat is there in case your tornado is followed by chilly air.

    A copy of all of your important papers. Keep it simple. Make sure you have your insurance papers, identification papers and even a list of phone numbers for credit card companies, etc. Some information about your vehicles wouldn’t be a bad idea. You won’t have room for everything, but the more information you have, the easier it will be to get the ball rolling after the storm.

    A battery-operated cell phone charger

    Toilet seat that snaps on to 5 gallon container. Designed with snap on molded seat and lid that works great for emergency preparedness.

    Toilet Chemicals – Individual pouch of toilet chemicals for emergency sanitation preparation.

    moist towelettes

    Blanket or 2

    glow sticks and/or good flash light with extra batteries

    Many of these items can be stored in a suitcase or other container and sat by your house down for you to crab onb your way out to the storm shelter. Be prepared to have a couple extra sets of clothing as well. Remember; after a large storm it’s usually pretty chilly out so be prepared for that.

  7. Debbie S.

    I live in an area where an F-4 tornado came through just a few months ago. I might add a couple of pair of heavy duty work gloves and a pry bar. You may have to use those items immediately to help with a rescue.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks for the ideas – the pry bar’s a good idea too, hadn’t really thought of that. ~TxH~


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