A storm shelter will protect you from a tornado or other natural disaster, but fallen debris may leave you trapped in your shelter for several days at a time. To take your protection even further, you need the right survival tools to make it through the waiting period. Over the course of the next couple weeks, we will discuss must-have storm shelter supplies that you can use to get through the aftermath of Mother Nature.

Here are some important food and drink items to keep in your tornado shelter.

Non-Perishable, Easy Prep Foods

Non-perishable foods that are easy to prepare fit well with the post-storm environment. These are foods that you can leave in your shelter for years unattended and still be able to eat them in a storm. Common examples include:

* Crackers (Saltine or Wheat)
* Peanut Butter
* Cereal
* Granola Bars
* Dried Fruits
* Nuts and Trail Mix

Avoid foods that require any sort of cooking because you most likely won’t have electricity or a source of fire. Try to rotate these foods out every six months to one year, just to keep them as fresh as possible.

Bottled Water and Sports Drinks

Bottled water is an essential storm shelter supply that lasts for years. Believe it or not, all bottled water has an expiration date because the plastic from the bottle eventually breaks down. Nevertheless, a 24 pack of bottled water you buy now should be good for several years down the road.

Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade can help you replace electrolytes in your body during an emergency. This will keep you energized and help your body stay as healthy as possible. These drinks expire at about the same time bottled water expires, so make sure you change them out once a year to be on the safe side.

Other Nutritional Items

It may be a good idea to keep multivitamins in your storm shelter to supplement the nutrients in your food. If you’re lucky enough to have a charcoal stove in your storm shelter, you could also keep sugar, salt, and pepper on hand to add flavor to any foods you cook. Keep in mind that anything you store in your shelter will need to last and stock your shelves accordingly.