Preparing for Severe Weather: Shelters to Emergency Kits


When preparing for another season of severe weather there are a few things you can do today to get yourself and your family ready - they can be as simple as throwing a few extra items in your cart during your next trip to the store or as big as building a concrete structure on your property.

Knowing where you'll go if a tornado touches down is part of a lifesaving emergency plan

Basements are one of the safest places you can go when a tornado warning is issued in your area.

When a tornado warning is issued where do you go if you don't have a basement?

Many without take shelter in interior rooms, crawl spaces and bathrooms but some are making the choice to build storm shelters - trusting their family's safety to eight inches of concrete on all sides.

At Humm and Sons Concrete a small shelter that fits four to six people will set you back about $5,000 and they can go just about anywhere.

"They've been in garages, next to houses, partially buried and sometimes under porches" said Ira Humm.

In his 32 years of business Ira said most people wait until the storms are already here before they think about a shelter.

"It gets crazy in the spring time. Coming out of winter a lot of people want to build and that's when the whole storm shelter thing really picks up too. It's the season when people get freaked out" he said.

He noticed a boost in business after a devastating tornado in 2004.

"After the Hallam tornado is when things picked up for us as far as storm shelters go," said Humm.

An F-4 tornado boasts up to 260 mile per hour winds. Those are strong enough to level well-constructed walls and that's exactly what it did.

Humm remembered visiting the devastated town. "Everything was goneā€¦ trees with no limbs.. only a couple houses in the whole town survived."

He is in the process of building a storm shelter in his own home. When asked how confident he'd be facing an F-5 he said "I'm very confident. I know concrete and the strength and the rebar. It'd actually be kinda cool to see, it's really safe."

Humm and Sons builds within a 170 mile radius of Lincoln. They recommend you think about building a shelter in the winter time before the busy season and before the storms hit. You can find their contact information on their website

One thing you should have in your shelter is an emergency kit. It's almost one stop shopping to get your disaster kit ready and its one of the most important steps you can take to stay safe as we head into tornado season.

You're kit should be ready to go at a moment's notice and include the essentials you need to survive for anywhere from hours to even a few days. Remember that power could go out and stay out for several days to even a week depending on the scale of the event

Try to include the following essentials when putting a disaster kit together:

  • A first aid kit in case of any injuries.
  • Plenty of water - one gallon per person is needed each day.
  • A flashlight.
  • Extra batteries and a battery or solar powered cell phone charger
  • A weather radio to receive alerts and warnings
  • Plenty of non-perishable food
  • backup supply of prescription medications
  • Tools to shut off your gas supply
  • Ventilation masks and plastic sheeting to keep out dust and debris
  • Personal hygiene items

It's a good idea to keep your kit in your basement or storm shelter or someplace where it's easy to grab and go.

The National Weather Service has more information on what you may want to include in your kit on their website,