Shelter in Place: Security & Sanitation Supplies

Get Ready for Extreme Weather: Week 15

Shelter in Place – Security and Sanitation Supplies

What supplies would you need if your home was damaged in an extreme weather event?

  • What if a large tree branch fell on your roof during a storm?
  • What if the drain backed up in your basement during a flood?
  • What if you lost some part of your roof or had broken windows as a result of a tornado?

The following information has been compiled from a variety of emergency preparedness sources. Please follow the links and print out the information you need. Transition Longfellow volunteers are not experts; so we rely on information from expert sources, which we have provided here.

Below are some of the basic repair and cleaning supplies to have on hand to shore up your house until you can do a more thorough job or can hire someone to fix things for you. You can use these supplies for other things besides emergencies.

  • Flashlight, in case of an electrical outage
  • Radio to get information about evacuation or assistance (hand-crank or batteries)
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Plastic sheeting or cardboard to cover broken windows
  • Tools: wrench pliers, hammers and nails, screws
  • Large plastic garbage bags for debris
  • 5-gallon bucket with plastic bag liner for toileting

Damaged Roof

The fastest and least expensive emergency roof repair is to cover the area with a plastic tarp. Use one that is meant for the outdoors. Pull the tarp tight and nail down the edges. Cover the nail heads with roofing cement. This will prevent rain from getting in while you wait for the actual repair.

You will likely need a number of tools to deal with tree limbs. You can rent tools like a chain saw, or see if one of your neighbors already has one. Consider sharing tools you won’t use very often.

  • A hacksaw (or chain saw), a winch, and rope to remove and cut up fallen tree branches
  • Outdoor tarp(s)
  • Hammer, nails and roofing cement
  • Shingles if you have any left from your last roof repair

Flooding/Sewer Backup

If your home has suffered significant flooding or sewer backup, you will likely need to hire professional cleaners. If the flooding was not extreme, there are things you can do yourself. You will need:

  • A water pump (you could rent this, or buy one. Here is an example.)
  • Wash clothes, rags or old towels
  • Bleach
  • Lysol or PineSol
  • Fan(s)
  • Large plastic garbage bags
  • Rubber gloves, rubber boots
  • Hand sanitizer

Turn Off The Electricity

After a flood, you will need to shut off the electricity. Here is a video on how to do that. Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. If you can’t reach your breaker box safely, wait until the water has drained, or pump the water out first, or call your electric utility to shut off power at the meter. Do not use any electrical items that have been wet. Do not plug anything into a wall outlet that has been wet. has provided the following tips on electricity safety. Please review their guidelines and the information provided by, a program of the Energy Education Council.

Turn Off Natural Gas

If you smell natural gas, your first course of action should be to leave the house and call the gas company. (See Centerpoint Energy instruction for gas safety.) It is possible to turn off the gas yourself at the main gas service shutoff valve using a shutoff tool. (No recommendation is being made that a homeowner should do this; only that it can be done. In an emergency situation where the gas company has many calls, it may be useful for a homeowner to know how to do this.)

Be Cautious with Anything Electrical

According to the Floodlist website, electrical appliances that have been water damaged are highly likely to be unusable again. This applies to anything electrical. Your breaker box and wiring may also be irreparably damaged. Do not restart electricity in a flood-damaged area until it has been inspected by an electrician. Do not use appliances until they have been checked by a repair service. The same goes for gas appliances. Check with a plumber or the gas company.

Cleaning Up After the Flood

Some flood-experienced Extension service folks in Texas have provided a handy document on home clean-up and the supplies you will need. Be sure to protect yourself with rubber gloves and other protective gear. Floodwater can contain a lot of contaminants.

This email series is brought to you by neighborhood volunteers at Transition Longfellow. It is designed to help you become more prepared for extreme weather emergencies. Transition Longfellow does not endorse or recommend any of the products mentioned in this email series. Neither Transition Longfellow nor Transition Twin Cities receives any compensation for products mentioned on their websites. Products are mentioned for illustration purposes only.