In 2013, one tornado was reported in Kansas, according to the National Weather Service. One is enough for anyone in the path of a tornado, and one tornado, combined with the potential for snow and ice throughout March and straight-line winds is enough to warrant preparing a kit of essential supplies, either to grab and go or to stay in place without utilities.
The Division of Emergency Management for the State of Kansas, the National Weather Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency have advocated for emergency kits for years, ramping up their efforts during Severe Weather Awareness Week — March 2-8 this year.
Pratt County Emergency Manager Tim Branscom has a kit in his personal vehicle. Being ready to go at a moment’s notice is part of his military training, and because of the job he now has, he recognizes that his family needs to be prepared when storms threaten. He thinks he’s among a minority who have such a kit.
“I would put the percentage as very, very low,” he said, adding that many people already have most of the needed supplies in their homes, but not all together in a convenient location.
The kit can get fairly heavy — Branscom said a suitcase or storage container on wheels is easier to move if evacuation is necessary.
The National Weather Service in Kansas recommends that the kit be stored in the family’s designated shelter — the basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of the building — and a smaller version in a backpack or other container that is easily carried.
Kits should be reviewed at least every year to keep items fresh. The website ready.gov recommends changing out bottled water every six months.
• 3-day supply of water (at least 1 gallon per person per day — more during hot weather)
• 3-day supply of nonperishable, ready to eat food items, such as peanut butter, canned meats, fruits and vegetables, dried milk and canned juices, plus a manual can opener. Also include disposable plates, cups and utensils.
• Flashlight and extra batteries, or ones that generate their own energy by shaking them.
• Battery operated or hand-cranked radio, NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio
• Clothing appropriate for the season. Include long-sleeved shirts and long pants, sturdy gloves and sturdy shoes.
• Sanitation and hygiene items, such as hand sanitizer, moist towelettes and toilet paper, and plastic garbage bags for disposal.
• Matches in waterproof container. Do not use matches, candles or lighters, however, if there are or may be leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby.
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Cash and coins
• Photocopies of important documents such as insurance policies and bank account records, personal identification and credit cards. Place in a waterproof container within the kit.
• Baby needs
• Special needs such as prescription and over the counter medicines, eyeglasses, contact lens solution, etc.
• Paper and pencil, games and activities for children
• Local maps
• Pet foods and extra water
First aid kit
• Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
• 2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads
• Triangular bandages
• 2-inch and 3-inch sterile roll bandages
• Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
• Waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Antiseptic wipes
• Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
• Latex gloves
• Anti-bacterial ointment
• Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
• Cold pack
• Breathing barrier such as face shield or dust mask