National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Date Posted: April 25, 2012

When Lisa Rebstock “saw the news that something was coming” toward her home just south of Fort Worth, Texas, she knew that she had just moments to spare. The mother of two wasn’t used to Texas-size severe weather, having grown up in Massachusetts, but with the help of her husband, Ben, a native Texan, she made sure one key element was checked off her list well in advance of the tornado that destroyed her home on April 3, her disaster survival kit.  Lisa had the kit with her in the bathroom where she and her two young daughters safely rode out the storm.

“I had baby bottles, I had diapers, I had snacks, flashlights — everything I needed,” she told NBC’s TODAY. “And we used a lot of that stuff in that kit. Thank God I had it planned and thank God we got in there in the time we did.”

Lisa’s actions represent just what it takes to be a Force of Nature. In addition to having a plan of action when severe weather strikes — and alerting others via cell phone or social media — it’s vital that you have a disaster emergency kit prepared well in advance and ready-to-go when disaster strikes.

A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. You may need enough food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours, in case local officials and relief workers cannot reach you immediately after a tornado or other severe weather hits. You could get help in hours or it might take days.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

As part of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, NOAA, FEMA and The Weather Channel are urging people to “Pledge to Prepare.” When you Pledge to Prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather.  These include developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.

For more information on how you can participate this week and increase both your and your community’s preparedness check out A digital toolkit for the week is available here.