How to Be Prepared in a Weather Emergency


It seems like every spring and summer we have quite the run with severe weather. With Midwest weather varying from hail to heatstroke to tornadoes to typhoons (ok, just kidding, but the alliteration sounded good) it’s important to know how to be prepared for any weather emergency. lightening and thunder how to be prepared for severe weather

While there are a large variety of pre-made emergency kits that you can get at retailers, you can of course make your own and save money. You can turn learning how to be prepared for a weather emergency into a family lesson, and incorporate a fun family DIY project  as well. 

Weather developments happen rapidly and you don’t always have a lot of time to prepare for something like a tornado. Having an emergency kit handy will save you time and provide an extra layer of safety to your emergency plan.

Nationwide there are several natural disasters that are more prone to certain regions. Tornadoes and floods are far more common in Iowa and Illinois than earthquakes, and we here in the Quad Cities are more likely to encounter a sheer wind storm than a hurricane. Obviously it’s important to tailor your emergency kit to your region as well as your family’s needs.

Be an Amateur Meteorologist

Knowing the signs of severe weather can help your family tremendously. Tune in to weather reports when you notice a change in the skies. Keep an eye out for: wall clouds, which are incredible and resemble shelves, green colored skies, hail, high winds and funnel clouds. Typically, severe weather sirens will sound to give you an indicator of severe weather.

downtown davenport iowa severe stormy sky how to be prepared in a weather emergency

How to Be Prepared in Case of a Tornado

While learning how to be prepared for a weather emergency, you may throw in more than you need, but that’s OK! Some ideas to keep your weather emergency kit include:

  • Medium-Large sized storage tub
  • A small radio, preferably a self-powered/battery radio
  • A self-powered flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Canned food or other non-perishable food
  • Baby food pouches and snacks
  • A hand-powered can opener
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Toilet paper
  • Blankets
  • USB Battery pack -to charge your cell phone-
  • Water -1 gallon per person, per day is an average amount-
  • A first aid kit
  • Back-up medicine -an extra inhaler for example if someone has asthma-
  • A spare set of keys to your vehicle and home
  • A change of clothes for each person in your household
  • Pet supplies -food, water and a pet carrier-
  • Diapers and wipes
  • A baby carrier -I highly recommend baby wearing if possible during severe weather, it insures keeping your little one close as well as providing comfort if they get scared–
  • A utility knife
  • Cash -if electricity is out in your area, a credit card won’t work-

Keep your tornado emergency kit in an area that is easy to access. It should also be in the space where you take shelter in the event of a tornado. If possible, have a “safe room” in your house, preferably in the basement. Hopefully your basement is not a dank dungeon like mine is, but even so, it’s safer than upstairs in case of severe weather. 

What to Do in Case of Heat Related Illness

Heat stroke
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin
  • Very high body temperature (above 103)
  • Call 911

While waiting for help:

  • Place child in shady, cool area
  • Loosen clothing, remove outer clothing
  • Fan air on child; cold packs in armpits
  • Wet child with cool water; apply ice packs, cool compresses, or ice if available
  • Provide fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible
  • Stay with child until help arrives


Heat exhaustion
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • Fast heart beat
  • Have child sit or lie down in a cool, shady area
  • Give child plenty of water or cool sports drinks with salt and sugar to drink
  • Cool child with cold compresses/ice packs
  • Take to clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation or treatment if signs or symptoms worsen or do not improve within 60 minutes.
  • Rest in a cool area for the remainder of the day
Heat rash
  • Clusters of red bumps on skin
  • Often appears on neck, upper chest, folds of skin
  • Retreat to a cooler, less humid environment when possible
  • Keep the affected area dry

* Remember, if you are not a medical professional, use this information as a guide only to help when in need.


Do you know how to be prepared for a weather emergency? I’d love to hear your tips


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