How to Stock a Storm Shelter

What You'll Need
Bottled water
Self-generating radio
Non-perishable foods
Propane heater and propane gas
Tool kit
First aid kit
Clean clothes and linens
Sleeping bags

Maintaining a storm shelter in preparation for a natural disaster may seem a bit alarmist to some, but if you have ever lived through a tornado, earthquake or tsunami, you understand the need for preparation. In the 1960s when the threat of nuclear annihilation was a real fear, many people built a fallout shelter to protect their families from radiation poisoning. Although the nuclear threat may not be the main reason people still build shelters, if you have one, stocking it appropriately is just as important as proper construction. It won’t do you and your family much good if you don’t have anything of use inside once the shelter is needed.

Step 1: Stock things that don’t expire

First, place all large items in your storm shelter, things that don’t have to be checked for expiration dates. The tool kit, shovel, axe, propane heater, regenerating radio, kids’ games, chairs, clothes and sleeping bags should all be stored out of the way.

Build a secure shelving system in your storm shelter so the room stays clutter free. One thing you can do to avoid shelves (as they may be a hazard in an earthquake) is to build benches that double as storage trunks. The seat lifts up to reveal a perfect place for storing your things. Also the seats can double as a bed to rest.

Step 2: Stock things that need to be checked

Be organized and stock things in their appropriate shelves carefully. Medication, bottled water and a first aid kit should be readily available. A first aid kit probably will last, but if it sits a long time you may want to check it. The expiration date on medication should be noted and changed when it expires.

Also, check the expiration date of bottled water and all canned goods. Allow room for dry goods that are sealed and air tight including whole grains, cereals, fruits and nuts. Stock cooking oil, vinegar and baking soda in the same area. The last two items that should be stocked are cleansing agents.

Step 3: Stock combustible items

You will want a propane heater and camp stove, so you will also need extra propane. Have a few canisters near the door of your storm shelter. Make sure you know exactly how long the propane will remain pressurized. Waterproof matches are another good idea but should not be kept near the propane. Put them in the tool kit.

Stocking your storm shelter the right way in preparation for a natural disaster is as important as the structure itself. You don’t want to forget anything you might need in the event of a disaster, so it is best to plan well in advance. If you have items inside that expire, check them periodically so you can replace them if need be.