I have had the unfortunate opportunity to work several tornado incidents each with it's own set of obstacles to overcome. I have seen the overwhelming need to be personally prepared for these incidents and for you to not rely on anyone or any agency for assistance. Whether you respond locally or are deployed on a multi-day mission, you need to be prepared. There are many must have items when you are tasked with search and rescue operations during these disasters. Many of which you can prepare ahead of time or when imminent severe weather is approaching. I put together this video awhile back and thought it might need to be re-posted due to the recent events. Share this information with your fellow rescuers, you can never be to prepared when something like this happens.
If you need help building your own response kit, check out the National Association for Search and Rescue's Pack List. You can click here to view and print this document. You can use this list to decide what you believe is relevant to your needs. I can assure you that you will nearly always need: Batteries, Navigation Equipment (GPS, Lensatic Compass), Flashlights, Boots, Gloves, Helmet, Food to snack on and plenty of WATER!
Even if you believe you are going on a USAR mission, one that will have an urban landscape, it will not be easy to navigate. Urban landscapes turn into wilderness landscapes very quickly after a tornado or hurricane. You will loose road signs, landmarks, electricity and even natural features will become hard to identify in the carnage.