Whether you have a formal storm shelter constructed or just a place in the basement that you consistently head to when the weather turns foul, it needs to be stocked. It is critical that you have more than a safe space to be if a real survival situation happens. Making sure that the right items in the proper amounts are available is important to help you survive long enough to be rescued.
Try to stock any perishable items with the types that you will regular use.
By stocking your storm or emergency shelter with items that you already use, you can rotate the stock to keep it fresh. Use the storage area in the shelter as a back up to your pantry. About once a month, remove everything from your shelter to be used in your day to day consumption. Restock the shelter with fresh items. If the amount stored in the shelter is large, rotate enough of it each month to keep it from spoiling before it can be used.
Make fresh drinking water a priority.
You can live for a week or more without food. Without water, you will last about three days. Store as much drinking water in the shelter as you can. This can be used in emergencies or as a back up supply if your area is without water for a while or a boil order is in force. It is a good idea to stock mostly individual sized bottles and a few bottles holding larger quantities. Keep some bleach on hand to help sanitize any questionable water that you may be forced to use for bathing or washing eating utensils.
Keep foods on hand that do not require cooking.
Buy up prepared foods. This can be canned soups and other canned items that you may prefer to eat hot but that can be eaten cool or cold. Items like boxed crackers, bags of snacks, and other packaged edibles are a good option. Various types of canned meats, fish, and vegetables should be kept on hand. It is a good idea to keep an eye out for items that you like to eat that may be available in a form that will work for your shelter.
Some equipment should be available in the shelter.
If the shelter is ventilated, you can keep camp type heating, lighting, and cooking gear. Either the type that uses white gas or bottles of propane will work well. Stock plenty of fuel. If you plan to cook, you obviously need cookware and some type of sink or basin to wash the utensils after cooking and eating. Storing liquid soap will work for bathing, washing various items, and for shampoo in a pinch.
You may want to consider some other tools for the emergency shelter.
A small shovel could be an asset in some situations. Basic tools like a hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, etc. should be kept in an easy to locate storage area. A strong flashlight that does not require batteries should be added into the mix. The same is true for a radio that has its own source of power. If you do have battery operated devices, be sure to stock and rotate fresh batteries.
If the conditions are right, you might choose to keep a gas powered generator in the shelter.
Because of carbon monoxide, be very careful about this one. However, it could be a valuable tool to keep items like your cell phone functioning in an emergency. Keep only enough gasoline to run it to recharge devices. The risk of fire and explosion from gasoline is too high to keep a lot of it on hand.
Plan to stock your shelter with a minimum of a one week supply.
While most storm emergencies last from only a few hours to a couple of days, you may need more supplies to live on after exiting the shelter. If these are stored beforehand, you may be glad they are available if local suppliers are no longer in business or have been forced to shut for several days.