How to Convert a Closet Into a Storm Shelter

Be prepared before the next storm strikes.
Be prepared before the next storm strikes. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Storms, specifically tornadoes, can cause a lot of damage to a home. While not everyone can afford to have a storm shelter installed on their property, many people have a closet they can convert into a safe place to stay during a bad storm. Many items you will need can already be found in your home, you just need to pull them together in your closet. Take a few minutes to put together a safe place for yourself, your family and your pets before the next storm comes.

Things You'll Need

  • Boxes or plastic tubs
  • Duct tape
  • Plastic sheets
  • Scissors
  • Bottled water
  • Granola bars
  • Books or magazines
  • Board games
  • Dog bone or biscuits
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Duffel bag
  • Clothing

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Designate a closet in your home as the storm shelter. The closet must be on the interior of the house, with no windows or skylights. There should be only one door, for safety purposes. Ensure that the closet is on a concrete pad; it should always be on the first floor of a home. The closet should also be large enough for every person in the family to fit inside.

Prepare a box filled with items you will need to immediately turn your closet into a storm shelter. Store the box in the closet so it is ready to use. Several rolls of duct tape, plastic sheets, scissors and bottled water are essential. Pack a few snacks, such as granola bars, in the box as well.

Put together another box of non-essential items for the storm shelter. This may include a few books or magazines, board games for any children in the family, a bone or biscuits for any pets, as well as a flashlight and battery-powered radio. Leave this box in the designated closet, as well.

Pack a duffel bag with a few days' worth of clothing for each person in the family. In the event that the house gets blown away, everyone will have a clean change of clothes. Grab any special blankets or stuffed animals that children may have as you go to the storm shelter closet.

Go into the closet once the storm gets to its worst. Ensure that the entire family is in the closet with you. Carefully and quickly duct tape the door shut from the inside. Seal the door with plastic first, if you feel it may be necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have room in the closet, add a mattress or sleeping bag to your emergency pile. If you are in the shelter for a long period, at least you can be comfortable. Put the mattress over you in the shelter if falling debris is a danger.


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