How to put together a hurricane-ready safe room

News 6 meteorologist Candace Campos breaks down what items to stock up on

By Candace Campos - Meteorologist, Brianna Volz - Web producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Having a room in your house designated to keeping you safe during a storm is a crucial part in preparing your home and family for the upcoming hurricane season. 

News 6 Meteorologist Candace Campos put together a safe room in her home to walk viewers through steps they should while making their own.

“After living through Hurricane Andrew 26 years ago, I owe my life to the safe room my family had prepared,” Campos said. “Our house was a complete loss, but that small half-bathroom that we rode out the category 5 hurricane, protected what was most important -- our lives.”

Whether you use a safe room during tornado warnings or when it’s time to ride out a storm, having a well-planned and prepped safe room in your home can help protect you and ease anxiety for you and your family.

Here’s a step-by-step set of instructions to help you put together your own safe room:

1. Find the most interior room in your house, or a room with the least amount of windows, like a closet or bathroom. 

In Campos’ case, a small bathroom in her home served as her family’s safe room.

2. Stock it with must-have items and a few other things that can help pass time.

“First things first is having water,” Campos said. “Enough water for each person, as well as some extra water in case you need to flush the toilet if there is a water shut off.”

Other items to have handy include a cooler for ice or medication that needs to stay refrigerated, a battery operated fan and flashlights. Each person should have their own light source, along with battery lanterns or even tap lights.

Campos also suggested swapping out a few shelves to make them hurricane ready, as she did with some of the ones hanging in her linen closet.

Her shelves were stocked with some of the items that are essential to staying informed. 

“We have a NOAA weather radio that alerts us when warnings are issued, a regular radio, plenty of batteries and a complete and organized first aid kit,” Campos said.

Campos also recommended adding baby wipes to your list of must-have items, even if you don’t have a young child staying with you.

“Baby wipes are extremely helpful for washing your hands, wiping things down and, of course, if you have a baby, you know how helpful these can be,” Campos said.

Anyone who does have small children or other family members that would be staying with them during a storm should make sure not to forget to stock up on specific needs for their family, babies and kids.

“Make sure you have plenty of diapers, snacks or formula,” Campos said.

Disposable baby bottles are a good idea for anyone with babies, since they don’t have to be sanitized. 

Another must-have item on Campos’ list is an extra stash of Ziploc bags. She recommends them when it comes to waterproofing important items, like documents, cash and cell phones.

Bug repellent can also be a useful item to include when stocking your safe room.

“With all the heat and humidity and all that rain, mosquitoes are always a big-time problem during and after a storm,” Campos said. 

3. Make the room as comfortable as possible.

Campos says this step is crucial, since this room could end up being where you have to ride out an hourslong storm. 

For physical comfort, you can use anything you have around the house that may cushion the otherwise uncomfortable floor.

In her safe room, Campos used pillows, beach towels and a yoga mat to add extra cushion.

“You just don't know how long you will be stuck in the room,” she said.

In addition to physical comfort, it’s important to remember that severe weather can be scary, and you want to make sure you’re emotionally comfortable throughout any storm, especially if a young child may be spending time in the safe room.

“Little goodies for the little one can help,” Campos said. “It can be cards, stuffed animals – anything to help time go by and ease that hurricane anxiety.”

Once you’ve completed each step, your safe room should be ready to be put to use, though we hope you never have to.

Campos reminds viewers to remember that they can customize their rooms as they want in order to fit their family’s needs. The most important thing to remember is to plan and prepare ahead of time.

If you have suggestions of other items to include in a safe room, leave your ideas in the comments below. 

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