When I first heard of Natalie Lund’s debut, We Speak in Storms, I knew it was going to be a book I had to read. As somebody that has lived in tornado alley their entire life you’d think that I would be completely used to these monstrous storms by now – but I’m not. They actually terrify me. But even though tornadoes are one of my biggest fears I still love reading stories that involve them.
Because of my fear, I always make sure that I’m as prepared as possible when I know one is heading my way. Part of that preparedness is making sure my emergency bag is ready. What do I pack in that bag? Keep reading to find out!
My bag of choice is definitely a backpack. It allows me to keep my hands free while also guaranteeing that my personal items will stay securely with me and not get in the way. If you don’t own a spare backpack you could also use a large tote bag or cross body satchel. You just want to make sure that you hold onto your bag if you’re going through a tornado to prevent the wind from carrying it away from you.
It may seem silly to have a weather radio in this day and age when we could use our phones instead, but in an emergency situation you’ll want to conserve your phone battery. Weather radios are the best way to stay up to date on the current weather conditions in the event that your power goes out and you can’t use the tv.
Tornadoes can happen at any time of day and you never know where you’ll be when one does strike. A flashlight is essential in case the power goes out and leaves you in the dark. If a tornado touched down where you are there will probably be a lot of dangerous debris in your area that you’ll need to see so you can avoid it.
Make sure you have extra batteries for your weather radio and flashlight as well as the charging cord and, if you have it, an external battery for your cell phone. When you are sheltering in place or after the tornado has hit is not a great time to realize the batteries are dead in one of your needed items and you don’t have backups.
A first aid kit is essential because you don’t want to find yourself with injuries that you can’t take care of. You’ll also want to make sure you have any necessary medications that you or anybody in your family takes. Tornadoes can spread debris hundreds of miles away and you don’t want to find yourself without your medicine.
You also want to make sure that you have enough bottled water and non-perishable food items to last for two or three days. There are times when people become trapped in the area they were sheltering in place because of tornado damage. If this happens you don’t want to become dehydrated or not have enough food.
It’s also important to keep your wallet with your ID, bank cards, cash, and other important identifying documents with you. After a severe tornado things can be a bit chaotic and you don’t want to be worried about having to replace these necessary items.
Perhaps the most important thing you need to pack is of course a book! Tornado warnings can sometimes go on for a good amount of time and you don’t want to find yourself bored. Also, if you’re like me and anxious or scared about the storm, a book is a great way to distract yourself! Choose one you can get lost in, such as We Speak in Storms, that will fill you with hope and help you know that you will make it past this.
Natalie Lund (natalielund.com) is a former middle and high school teacher. A graduate of Purdue University’s MFA program, she taught introductory composition and creative writing there, and also served as the fiction editor of The Sycamore Review. Natalie lives in Chicago with her husband. You can follow her on Twitter @nmlund.
A powerful and haunting debut novel about friendship, acceptance, and learning to let go as the balance between the living and the dead is upended, perfect for fans of We Were Liars.
It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-town tragedy, the town is shaken. For Brenna Ortiz, Joshua Calloway, and Callie Keller, the apprehension is more than just a feeling. Though they seem to share nothing more than a struggle to belong, the teens’ paths continue to intersect, bringing them together when they least expect it, and perhaps, when they need it most. Both the living and the dead have secrets and unresolved problems, but they may be able to find peace and move forward–if only they work together.
A beautifully told, haunting yet hopeful novel about pushing past the pain, facing the world, and finding yourself.
What would you want to have in your emergency bag? Let me know in the comments!