Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shelter Cleaning Day

Since the weather was nice today, and I had already de-stinkified the van with baking soda, it was time to tackle the annual storm shelter cleanout.  After all, it might rain again this year in Texas!

Back in 2006 or so, right after the Westminster tornado here, we installed an in-ground storm shelter.  It's a converted NEW septic tank, concrete and complete with an F-5 rated door, and stairs down into it.  But over a year, it tends to gather dirt, dry grass and a few bugs and spiders.  So it needs cleaned out, preferably before we need to hunker down in it during a storm.

We removed most of the gear and supplies--it does tend to get cluttered with stuff that needed a place to live--and then swept it out.  The shop vac did cobweb duty on the storage containers, and we hooked the batteries up to the Battery Minder make sure they were charged.  They run the LED lights, 12v fans and the communications we have installed there.  It's darned handy to be able to listen to the Skywarn Net during a callout.

We also cycled some of the stuff out of storage, in order to use it up, and later replace it with fresh, like Coleman Fuel.  We learned a hard lesson one year, when a can of pasta sauce, and a can of pineapple juice decided to explode together, and run across the cement floor of the shelter...what a nasty, stinky, moldy mess that was to clean up!  Bleach is my friend...  We don't keep canned acidic foods in there any more, and what foodstuffs are there, are all dry goods.  Plus it is all stored in plastic tubs now.

It's not likely we will need the shelter this year, but boy howdy, when we have needed it in the past, I was SO glad we had it! 

Readers, do you have a safe room or basement, or some sort of storm shelter?  Is it ready for the 2014 storm season?  And to all you good folks on the Hurricane Coasts, are you ready for the upcoming hurricane season?

Here's a quick list of things you might want to have ready.
  • Fresh batteries
  • Flashlights and headlamps
  • Toilet paper
  • Snack foods
  • Battery free entertainment for yourself or kids (card decks, dice, books etc)
  • Water
  • Tent (in case your house is no longer viable)
  • Camp stove and fuel (you can make due with Sterno but you can't boil water with Sterno, it doesn't get hot enough.)
  • A cook pot, bowls, utensils
  • A contact list of friends/families to call
  • Phone charger and a way to power it
  • Lantern or area lighting of some type (I like the 12v LED strip lights we got off Deal Extreme)
  • Work boots/leather gloves for protection from debris
  • Assorted hand tools/nails for debris removal or temporary structural repairs
  • Tarps
That's just a partial list off the top of my head as I sit here.  You may or may not want to have something to protect yourself from looters and other like-minded opportunists in the event of a disaster.  I'm not going to suggest any particular items, as I think that is an individual choice, and I suspect most of you have already made your decision one way or the other regarding defense of self and property.

You'll notice most of the items are essentially camping gear.  It's a handy way of having supplies do dual duty--the fun of camping, and the necessity of life after the event.

Don't get caught flat footed and unprepared my friends!  Being prepared for life's little curve balls isn't hard, and needn't be expensive either.  The veneer of civilization is thinner than it used to be.  Don't think the .gov will be there to save you--they're at least 3 days away, if not longer.  Self reliance....this country needs to encourage greater self reliance. 

Just think how much better you'll feel, knowing you and your family are squared away in the event of a disaster.  I know I sleep easier knowing we are squared away.


  1. I saw an article recently where they were suggesting using septic tanks for root cellar construction. They were saying that the manufactures will sell flawed ones that won't hold liquid about half price. I suppose you could combine a root cellar with a safe room idea.

  2. That's a good list. And, yes, do not rely on .gov. Should be .corruption. It also got me thinking about our own preparations. I "think" we're ready with everything on the list and more. At least we live way out in the country away from the coast and we all tend to help neighbors rather than loot them. :) I couldn't swear to that, of course. Last biggy we had here was a tornado hit in the mid-1990's. Most every one came to each other's assistance as needed. And we all have plenty of "hardware" for personal protection or drone target practice. Thanks for reminding us to remember these things. God bless! ~:)

  3. I have not heard of tinned goods exploding like that. Did it get really hot in there?

    We have a full basement and plenty of camping gear, but no storm shelter.

  4. There is a root cellar buried some years ago just out our back door -- Shane wants to dig it up and make it useful again. Lord!

  5. Thankfully we don't need a storm shelter here in Ireland.

    It was interesting to read about yours!


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