What You Need to Know Before You Buy a Storm Shelter
Spring is quickly approaching in Oklahoma. This means warmer weather and more daylight, but it also means storm season. This is a scary time of the year for a lot of Oklahomans and is also a really popular time when many people begin to start to formulate a weather safety plan for their family. For a lot of people, that means purchasing a storm shelter. We thought now would be a great time to try to enlighten people on things they need to know and questions they need to ask before pulling the trigger on a purchase.
Is it more safe to be underground??
Most people tend to prefer to be underground if they ever have to seek shelter from a tornado. Don’t get me wrong, being underground is extremely safe, but above ground safe rooms are statistically just as safe and are very easy to use. The Texas Tech Wind Institute in Lubbock Texas did a major investigation of all the above ground safe rooms in the direct path of the 2013 Moore tornado. They were able to determine that there were 13 registered safe rooms in the direct path of this devastating EF-5 tornado. All of the safe rooms made it through the storm unscathed and nobody inside of these shelters were injured or killed. In fact, nobody has been killed in an above ground safe room that meets or exceeds FEMA guidelines and has received a passing grade during testing at Tech’s Wind Institute. In both of our F5 showrooms in OKC and Tulsa, we have safe rooms installed just in case we get severe weather during working hours. This should tell you how much we believe in the technology.
Is an underground storm shelter in my garage more or less safe then an outdoor underground storm cellar?
Texas Tech researches say both underground garage storm shelters and above ground safe rooms installed inside your house are just as safe as any outdoor cellar. Even though they are believed to be just as safe, we tend to advise people more toward the shelters installed in the house. The reason for this is that although all three types of shelters are just as safe, that safety is achieved once you are inside the actual storm shelter. The number one cause of death during severe weather is impact from flying debri. If you have an outdoor cellar in your backyard, you have to physically leave the house and seek shelter outdoors. This leaves you extremely vulnerable to debri and the tornado it self. Storm shelters installed in the garage or inside the house offer you protection while you are seeking shelter. All our great options, but this is just what we would recommend.
Make sure the storm shelter you purchase meets FEMA guidelines and has been impact tested at Texas Tech’s Wind Institute
This seems pretty basic but since the 2013 Moore Tornado, there have been tons of storm shelter companies pop up. Many of these businesses were thrown together quickly to try and benefit from the growing storm shelter demand. Be careful when choosing a company to do business with. All storm shelters should be built and designed according to FEMA 320, FEMA 321, and ICC-500. All companies should supply you with blueprints for the shelter you wish to purchase and these blueprints needs to have an engineered seal of approval.
It is also extremely important that the storm shelter company you choose has been certified by the Texas Tech Wind Institute in Lubbock. A certified shelter is tested to make sure it meets the standards to survive a direct hit from a tornado. All impact tests are consistent with the Debris Impact Requirement of ICC-500. Above ground safe rooms leave you in dangerous territory being as that you are above ground and exposed to flying debri. You have to have a shelter that you know will hold up. Certification from Tech guarantees your family will be safe.
Do Your Research
This shouldn’t come as anything new but do research on the companies you are interested in. Again, there have been a lot of companies start up over the last two years and not all of them do good work. Look online and find reviews on google, yahoo, and facebook. Check out if they are accredited with the Better Business Bureau and what their rating is. Ask the company if they will give you any names and numbers of past customers that can vouch for your work. Don’t just take the company for their word.
We hope this helps out some of you in the decision making process. Call us if you have any other questions or concerns. We would love to help your family any way we can.
F5 Storm Shelters OKC (405) 824-7209
Tulsa (918) 970-4770 Stay Alive, Call F5!