How to Build a Storm Shelter in a Crawl Space

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Things You'll Need

  • Weather radio

  • Blankets or sleeping bags

  • Food

  • Water

  • Emergency preparedness kit

  • Battery-operated lamp

Be prepared for dangerous weather with an in-home storm shelter.

In a weather emergency, take steps to protect yourself and your family by creating a storm shelter, in the crawl space below your house that isn't deep enough for a basement. When you must take immediate shelter from a storm, the ideal location is away from windows, in a central location in your home. Whether for a few hours or even days, be prepared with supplies in a safe refuge until the storm passes.


Step 1

Create an area in the crawl space that's clear of debris and isn't located beneath large, heavy pieces of furniture on the above floor.

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Step 2

Store your disaster supply kit in a basket or bucket.

Assemble a disaster supply kit that includes one gallon of water per person, per day, for at least three days. Also include a three-day supply of nonperishable food, a battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries, first-aid kit, sanitation items, matches and waterproof container, whistle, extra clothing, kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener, photocopies of credit and identification cards, cash, eyeglasses, contact lens solutions and hearing aid batteries.

Step 3

Don't forget the important items, such as a child's security blanket.

Make a list of basic items that members of your household may need during an emergency, including medicines or security items for children. Store the list in the emergency supply kit.


Step 4

Familiarize yourself with community warning systems.

Identify your community's warning systems and evacuation routes, and know how the community sends out important communication.


Step 5

Gather extra blankets and sleeping bags, and store them in the shelter.


Step 6

A flashlight that stands adjusts for use as a lamp.

Place a battery-operated lamp in the shelter, with backup batteries.


Step 7

Remember a new baby in your emergency kit and shelter space.

Update the contents of your emergency kit and shelter as needed.


Heavy objects can fall though the floor if a tornado strikes your house.

Below-ground shelters must be designed to avoid accumulating water during rain storms. Avoid seeking shelter in a crawl space if there's a flood threat, such as the heavy rains accompanying severe windstorms.


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