Are underground storm shelters safe??

Are underground storm shelters safe??

2015 has been a hectic storm season for much of Oklahoma. Non stop rain, flash flooding, and constant tornado warnings have become the norm, but as we approach the middle of May, the end of severe weather season ( if there is such a thing) is in sight. The Summer heat makes it much more difficult for tornadoes to form and we typically get a break until Fall returns. We are almost there everybody, only a few more weeks of anxiety. Speaking of anxiety, I’m sure everybody has seen the media coverage about the lady that drowned inside her outdoor cellar and probably seen the pictures of storm shelters that have either floated out of the ground or have filled up with water. How is all of this happening? I thought being underground was the safest place to be when tornadoes strike. Is this still the case or should I consider an above ground safe room instead? Many of you reading this have probably had these thoughts when reading the paper or after seeing some of the images. Let’s further examine the situation.

 

Are underground storm shelters still safe??

Without hesitation, the answer to this question is YES! The hundreds if not thousands of lives that have been saved over just the last decade are proof of that. Google ‘storm shelters save lives’ and you can easily find a countless number of articles and videos about people who fled for safety during a tornado in an underground shelter. Underground garage model storm shelters and outdoor storm cellars are not perfect, but they are pretty close to it. Do some research, we can’t find any documented evidence of anybody ever being killed in an underground garage model shelter that meets FEMA guidelines and has been impact tested at Texas Tech’s Wind institute in Lubbock. It just hasn’t happened. The lady that drowned inside her cellar last week was a tragedy and everybody at F5 Storm Shelters is really very sad about it. We know that people buy our products because they no longer want to stress about severe weather. They want to know that no matter what happens, their family is going to be safe. Unfortunately, all storm shelters are not created equal. Older storm cellars that don’t meet current day FEMA guidelines and DIY projects are not going to be as safe as a storm shelter sold and installed to you by a professional. Sadly, the cellar this lady was in appears like it was extremely old and outdated. Before ever purchasing a storm shelter, please make sure to do your research. Make sure the company’s designs meet FEMA guidelines by meeting FEMA codes P-320, 360, and ICC-500. Has the company had their products impact tested and if so can they show you proof? What kind of rating do they have with the BBB and what are previous customers saying about them online? All these things matter.

 

Why are all these storm shelters floating out of the ground and filling up with water?

If you have a storm shelter already or are currently looking around for one, the pictures floating around social media have probably been pretty disturbing. The sight of the underground garage model filled to the lids with water terrifying. This is definitely a disadvantage for this particular model. Luckily, the person was able to get their family out of the shelter to avoid the rushing water and their house was not in an area greatly affected by the tornado, but what can be done to prevent this from happening again? Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot. These shelters are designed for safety from severe weather. Just about every company is installing flush mount storm shelters these days. This means, they are installed so that the lids will be even with your garage floor. If you are concerned with water getting inside your shelter, you can have your installer raise the shelter slightly above the garage floor. When they go to re-pour the slab, the should be able to trow the wet concrete at an angle to steer water around the tornado shelter. To the naked eye, it will still look flush, but will also offer protection from filling with water. Like we said, these shelters are designed for safety from tornadoes. The weather last week in Oklahoma was just a crazy fluke type situation. The day these shelters filled with water, the Oklahoma City metro area got 8 inches of rain. At one point, 3 inches fell in just an hour! That is more rain then the area gets in the average month. In fact if you go back through state history, OKC has never received so much water in such a short time frame. For the first time ever, the National Weather Service issued a “flash flood emergency” for Oklahoma City. This type of thing just never happens and more then likely, will never happen again. If you live in a low area or even in a flood plan and had an underground storm shelter in your garage, if the garage flooded, there was nowhere for water to go except inside the storm shelter. However, if you do not know if you live in a flood plane, upon going to pull a permit through your city, they should inform you wheter you are or not. If you are told that you do live in this type of area, an above ground safe room is going to be a safer option for your situation. Despite these freak occurrences, seeking safety in a storm shelter is still your safest option if a tornado is close by.

 

What about the outdoor cellars popping completely out of the ground?

To me, this all looks like an installation issue. If you have seen the images, notice that all of them are steel shelters and not concrete. Steel is good because it is much lighter then concrete. It allows a company to more easily access your back yard for an installation. Instead of backing a truck up to the hole and lowering the shelter into the ground, which requires alot of free space, you can simply pick the shelter up with an excavator and carry it to the hole that has been dug. Being that the shelter weights substantially less, you can’t simply install it the same was you would install a concrete unit. These type of shelters need to be at least somewhat encased in concrete. Back-filling with just dirt will not prevent the shelter from floating if we get a lot of rain. When you install storm shelters, you have to have blueprints created and sealed by an engineer. This not only discloses how the shelter is to be built, but will also describe how it needs to be installed. Every blueprint created it going to have a section that discusses buoyancy. This lists what needs to be done to prevent the shelter from ever floating out of the ground. This all goes back to researching the company you select to install your shelter. Make sure that they know what they are doing.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about anything to do with storm shelters or saferooms, please feel free to call us. We have locations in both OKC and Tulsa so we are easily accessible by most people in the state. We want you to know that we are here to help. Stay Alive, Call F5!

 

F5 Storm Shelters OKC (405) 824-7209

Tulsa (918) 970-4770 Stay Alive, Call F5!

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Are underground garage storm shelters safe?

Are you in the process of building a house and thinking about getting a storm shelter?

Are you in the process of building a house and thinking about getting a storm shelter?

Are you thinking about building a new home or even in the process of building? Have you been putting off buying a storm shelter because you have known the passed few years that you were not going to be in your current home long term? If any of these scenarios describe your current situation then F5 Storm Shelters has an idea that may be of interest to you. If you are about to start building and are interested in putting in a storm shelter then a really smart idea is to do a pre-construction installation. You may be asking yourself, ‘what does this mean?’ The answer is this, a pre-construction install (or, as we like to call it, a Dig and Stick) is done right before your builder is planning on pouring your slab.

This time of the year is a perfect for pre-construction jobs because we are not as backed up as we are in the Spring and Summer seasons so they are a lot easier to plan and coordinate. We can coordinate with your builder when he/she is planning on pouring the slab for your foundation. Once we know the date and as it gets closer to that time we will talk with your builder and make sure they are on schedule and ready for the tornado shelter to be installed. These jobs are pretty similar to a regular job in the fact that when we show up we will dig out the area you and your builder have marked for where you are wanting the storm shelter. WE dig the hole and once it is level, we put the shelter in the ground. We tell the builder ahead of time to mark on the stem wall were they are planning to pour the slab to and that marker gives us the area where we need to set the shelter to.

Once the shelter is properly in place, we will back fill down the sides of the storm shelter with some of the dirt we dig out. Tamping this dirt will insure that the shelter will not move prior to the pouring of your foundation. We will wrap up the lids with plastic wrap just in case in rains before they have all the framing and roof done. This will help eliminate any water or debri from getting inside. Within a few days, the foundation will be ready to be poured and they will pour wet concrete down the sides of the storm shelter, anchoring the shelter into the grounds. After this is completed, you have yourself a fully installed storm shelter. It’s just that easy.

Why install it this way and not just worry about it once the house is completed you may be thinking? Well, there are a few reasons. First of all is money. This type of installation is cheaper for the customer. At F5 Storm Shelters, you can save $150 by getting your shelter installed pre-construction because this type of install takes a lot less time. Typically, we can complete a pre-construction job in an hour and a half to two hours. Normal installs take anywhere from four to eight hours depending on size. WE also don’t have to worry about doing any of the concrete work because the people that pour the foundation will be taking care of it. Another reason to install your storm shelter pre-construction is because of placement. WE can put these shelters anywhere in the garage or house. We typically install tornado shelters about a foot in from your garage door and then about two and a half feet in from the exterior wall. We have a lot more freedom with pre-construction installations because there are not any obstacles in our way and we don’t have to worry about hitting any of your property. We have installed underground garage shelters in bedroom closets and underneath future stair cases by doing this type of installation.

If you have any questions or want more info about pre-construction installations, call one of our two locations.

F5 Storm Shelters OKC (405) 824-7209
Tulsa (918) 970-4770 Stay Alive, Call F5!

Pre construction storm shelter installation

Pre construction storm shelter installation

pre-construction storm shelter installation in back of garage.

Storm shelter installed in back of garage

Fall / Winter Time Storm Shelter Saving Deals

Fall / Winter Time Storm Shelter Saving Deals

THE BEST TIME TO PURCHASE A STORM SHELTER

Most people don’t know this, but one of the best times to purchase a storm shelter is during the Fall and Winter seasons. One of the main reasons for this is because there are not a lot of long waiting list. You can typically get your storm shelter installed within 2-3 weeks of purchase as opposed to in the Spring and Summer months when the wait could be multiple months. Choosing to purchase a storm shelter now is smart because it guarantees that you will have the shelter when you know you are going to need it, during storm season. Waiting until March to sign up for installation can almost guarantee you the you wont have it until the following years storm season. This can be kind of frustrating.

Another great reason to purchase a storm shelter later on in the year is the savings! Who doesn’t love saving money? Storm shelter demand is obviously a lot lower in November then it is in April or May.
This strongly benefits the customer. Right now, we are taking $200 off any storm shelter or safe room purchase. This deal will not be around in the Spring. Take advantage of the time of the year and get your family prepared for next storm season!

If you are interested in purchasing a storm shelter or if you won one of the many rebate programs going on through out the state then give us a call. We can answer any questions you may have and would love to help you protect your family. We sell all types of storm shelters. From our most poplar seller, the underground garage model, to above ground safe rooms, and outdoor storm cellars, F5 Storm Shelters has you covered. With locations in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City, we can get anywhere in the state easily. Call us today! Stay Alive, Call F5!

 

F5 STORM SHELTERS

Storm Shelters, Tornado Shelters, Safe Rooms

Tulsa – (918) 970-4770
Oklahoma City – (405) 824-7209

storm.quantus-dev.com

Who wants a free storm shelter??

Who wants a free storm shelter??

Have you always wanted a storm shelter but for one reason or the other never pulled the trigger? This month, we are partnering with AAA to give one lucky person a free underground garage storm shelter! All you have to do is follow the link below and register for the drawing. You have 3 weeks to register and you are able to submit one entry every day until the drawing is held. It’s really that simple. You are possibly just a few clicks away from having your very own tornado shelter.

 

The winning prize includes installation as well as a two ton come along jack. The jack makes it possible to pull the lid open in case there is debris on top of the lids. The shelter also comes with a limited life time warranty. As long as you are in the house, the shelter is covered for any type of leaking or corrosion. What are you waiting for? Go register for your chance to win a fully installed underground garage storm shelter from F5 Storm Shelters!

 

Here is the link to register: F5 Storm Shelters Giveaway!

 

F5 STORM SHELTERS

Storm Shelters, Tornado Shelters, Safe Rooms

Tulsa – (918) 970-4770
Oklahoma City – (405) 824-7209

storm.quantus-dev.com