*A Little Wind*
Last fall, my wife, my one-year-old son, and myself were sitting at home watching TV after dinner when a tornado warning came up for us and neighboring counties. This did not really bother me, due to getting them all the time.
The map on TV looked pretty mean though, so I had my wife get my boy's travel bag... this is in a school backpack that has changing supplies, sippey cups, travel toys, water, snacks and a light coat in it. While she was doing that, I got our shoes and coats together. Just about then, the emergency siren went off, we all went down stairs, three people, a dog, two cats, and a bird.
Under the stairs, in what was the coal room (old house) is a shelter. The stairs are the "turn back on themselves" kind... the shelter is under the landing and is bordered by two block walls. Under the 2x6's that support the landing floor, I put a 3\4-inch piece of plywood, filling the voids between the 2x6ís with concrete. I took 6x4ís that extend from the floor to the plywood for support, then built a shelf out of 2x4ís and plywood, with carpet for a floor.
For light, I took three motor home 12volt lights and two boat batteries, very easy to hook up and you can choose between battery life or light by how many lights you turn on.
As we get down stairs, I grab our sleeping mats and bags, while my wife gets the cold water out of the emergency fridge, this fridge is filled with our cooking oils, chem lights, batteries, vitamins, and every thing else that will keep longer in the cold. I throw down the mats and bags, getting all the people in the shelter, the animalís just stay in the basement, I do not want any injuries from them freaking out. With all the people in I grab the ammo can with our crank, self-powered radio from Radio Shack that Radio Ray recommended... great radio, sturdy, great receiving capacity and good size.
Turning to the local weather station, listening to the weather, it sounded as if the danger was past. Telling my wife to keep the boy there, I garbed a flashlight from my BOB that is in this room and went up to look at the TV.
As I turned on the TV the wind outside, which was blowing pretty strong, just stopped, and the lights went out. This is when I ran back down stairs in to the shelter. Listening to the radio, it stated the tornado touched down about 1\2 mile away, well not really touching down, just snapping about 10 sets of double pole power lines like twigs and tossing them across the street, then moving on. The power came back on, in about 1\2 hour and we went back upstairs. There was no damage in sight, but the next day when I went to look at the sight, you realize just how close a 1\2 mile is!
Every thing went well, but I learned a few things.
1. For just that 30 minutes it got stuffy in there, a ventilation system with a filter on it is needed, with possibly an oscillating fan.
2. For longer term stay, We'd need a recharge for the boat batteries, possibly solar.
3. An old, no service cell phone, with jury-rigged antenna for reaching outside, to dial 911 if you become trapped.
4. If you are in the shelter, STAY THERE! Until you hear the all clear.
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996 - 2002 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.