Our home was heavily damaged by a tornado several years ago, and it’s not an experience we’re likely to forget.
Fortunately, a few things worked in our favor. We live in a densely populated area, and our electricity was restored in a miraculously short amount of time – less than 24 hours.
This came as a surprise given the number of downed trees and power lines in the area. All ways of getting into and out of the neighborhood were blocked for several hours.
Despite the damage, we were able to live in our home while repairs were made. These repairs included a new roof, all new siding and a rebuilt deck.
If our house had been more severely damaged and/or we lived a few miles outside of town, we’d have been in a different situation.
You can easily assemble a basic emergency kit based on government recommendations. However, if you have the money and storage space, here are a few more expensive items to consider stocking in case a natural disaster hits your home. Some of them aren’t nearly as pricy as you might think, and you can probably keep everything in a closet or the corner of your garage.
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Amazon sells a variety of home emergency kits, including some that include several days worth of food. One downside to these, besides the cost, is that even nonperishable food doesn’t last forever. Eventually, you’ll need to eat the food and buy another package. Here are a few options.
- Three-Day, Two-Person Emergency Kit
- Augason Farms 1-Week 1-Person Emergency Food Supply Kit, 6 lbs 15 oz
- Wise Company Emergency Food Variety Pack (104-Serving)
- Wise Company Entrée Only Grab and Go Food Kit
You can also assemble your own emergency food kit with store-bought items that keep for years such as canned chicken breasts, Vienna sausage, tuna salad lunch kits, Pop Tarts, powdered milk, and baked beans. Don’t forget to keep some water on hand as well, and extra food for your pets.
A gas generator can keep necessities such as your refrigerator and HVAC working until power is restored. You can find decent generators costing anywhere from about $300 to $5000 or more. You may also need to hire professional assistance to hook up the generator to your electrical system and gas line. Here are a few gas generator options.
- DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Running Watts/4000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Generator
- Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start
- Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start – 7500 Rated Watts & 9500 Peak Watts
Windows Air Conditioner
A window air conditioner might come in handy if you have power but your air conditioner was damaged in the storm like ours was. If a disaster happens during warm weather, window air conditioners may be in very short supply at local stores. HVAC companies will be very busy and might not get your a/c repaired for several days.
You’ll want to get a window a/c unit large enough to cover the room where your family is likely to spend the most time. If you live in a warm climate and your a/c goes out anytime between April and October, you’ll be really grateful for one of these window units.
- Whirlpool Energy Star 8,000 Btu 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner with Remote Control
- Koldfront WAC10002WCO 10,000 BTU 115V Window Air Conditioner
- LG LW1816HR 18000 BTU 230V Air Conditioner & Heat Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
Large blue roof tarps were in very short supply after the tornado hit our house. One of our priorities was getting someone to tarp our damaged roof before it rained again, and that was everyone else’s priority, too. Hundreds of houses in the area suffered damaged roofs and siding.
You can pick up a few large tarps at your local home improvement store. They’re not terribly expensive and don’t take up much space.
Extra Trash Cans
An extra standard size trash can might also prove helpful in case of a hurricane or tornado. Both of our city-provided trash cans blew away in the storm – though they were heavy and partly filled with trash.
Fortunately, the cans made their way back to us when neighbors went looking for homes for the extra cans that ended up in their yards. If they hadn’t, we’d have been in dire need of somewhere to put the several bags of debris picked up from our lawn.
How About You?
What do you keep in your emergency kit that isn’t on most people’s lists?