Be prepared: Consider keeping a hazard kit in case of severe weather

By WVUA 23 News Reporter A’Leeyah Ponder

Severe weather can mean many things: tornados, flash flooding, thunderstorms or damaging straight-line winds.

Regardless of the type, preparing an all-hazards kit is one of the best defenses you can take to ensure you stay safe in dangerous weather.

An all-hazards kit, also known as go-bag or emergency kit, should include the following items:

  • weather radio
  • portable charger
  • flashlight
  • batteries
  • helmet
  • air horn or whistle
  • several days’ worth of medications
  • nonperishable food and a can opener
  • water (1 gallon a day per person)
  • tarp
  • cash (mainly small bills)
  • an extra pair of close-toed shoes
  • a change of clothes
  • games and activities for children

Your all-hazard kit supplies should be enough to last 72 hours. These emergency kits are a great addition to your severe weather plan.

Anders Hardware of Northport Manager Rich Anders said the supplies you add to your hazard kit could be the difference between life and death.

“We should take it seriously every time, and these are things that can save your life,” said Anders.

Anders lived in Tuscaloosa during the April 27, 2011, tornado that was a major wake-up call for so many in the area. Residents should listen to their local meteorologists and take severe weather alerts seriously, especially during spring’s severe weather season.

Don’t be caught off guard by swift weather changes, check to see if you’re receiving weather alerts before the storms start, and know where your nearest storm shelter is.

“You need to make sure you can receive alerts,” said Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Tamara Crooms. “I tell my kids all the time, any time there is severe weather get off TikTok, Netflix. You need to know if the storm is coming to your area.”

All hazards kit supply items can be found in hardware or sporting goods stores. A duffel bag or large backpack serves as a perfect container for your kit.

If you know you must leave your home in the event of severe weather, it’s a good idea to keep a packet of important documents in a secure place like a safety deposit box or a weatherproof safe. Consider making copies of documents including social security cards, driver’s licenses, birth certificates and titles so you can store them together and grab if you must flee your home.

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