Yesterday was the last day of February and it brought some torrential down pours, lightening and tornado warnings. I had no idea the weather was so bad till a friend who lived an hour away texted me to see if the storms had reached us yet.
(Not from my part of town, just a tornado photo.)
I immediately turned on the weather channel to find out a pretty big tornado was west of us and heading down the I-80 corridor right toward our town. According to the weather guy it was going to be by us in about 1/2 hour.
Having lived in Chicago all my life, we have seen many tornado watches, warnings and touch downs, some of which have been very devastating. But touchdowns with devastation is rare. The chances are slim of actually having your house blown down by a nasty twister. But as anyone will tell you, take the warnings seriously, take cover and wait it out.
After hearing I might have a half hour before the storms were upon us, I quickly started to throw things in my messenger bag I felt were important-things I would really need if I had actually lost everything.
While visiting my cousin in Brooklyn a few years ago, I noticed an innocuous backpack sitting in the corner of her room that was filled and ready to go. She is from Kentucky and had transplanted herself after she landed a cool job in New York City. Her dad, a Lt. Colonel in the army had prepared a ‘bug out’ bag for her in case of emergency. This bag has the necessities for an emergency that you can grab and get out at a moment’s notice. I think hers was geared more toward a Manhattan terrorist attack, and the idea struck me as such a smart concept.
I have applied this same concept to my ‘Storm Bag.’ I am going to pack one and have it on standby, should I someday have to head to the basement for cover. I highly suggest you pack one, too, and keep in somewhere in your house where you can quickly grab it and go. What will you put in your bag? Here is a photo I took showing the contents of the bag I threw together last night. Now that I have time to consider it, I am missing a few essentials, like a portable flashlight and a first aid kit.
Here is what I put in my bag: My red book of passwords, a checkbook, sunblock, my prescription medicine, my iPad, my cellphone (I took this photo with it), headphones, my credit cards and ID and insurance cards, safety deposit keys, my set of keys, all the cash I had on hand at home, my prescription sunglasses (might come in handy if I lose the ones on my face), and last but not least, my British copy of Jane Eyre.
I suggest a cross over bag you can put over your shoulder and across your body. Either that or a backpack- You want to be hands free.
One last bit of advise to you. If there are tornado watches and warnings in your area, put your shoes on. Preferably toed shoes that will protect your feet from glass and other sharp objects. If the worst happens and you end up climbing out of the rubble that was once your home, you do not want to be barefoot.
Think about creating your own Storm Bag. Of course everyone’s will be entirely personal. Happy Tornado Season. I hope you never need it.