Survive-A-Storm Blog

July 31, 2014

Safety When Facing the Eye of the Storm

Understanding real consequences of natural disasters that have occurred throughout the world in the last decade or so should make you realize how important preparation is. If you have witnessed or read about the utter devastation from tornadoes or hurricanes such as Katrina or Sandy, then you hopefully agree that having a safety plan in place is crucial. That is why investing in an underground storm shelter is both vital and essential. Having shelter and protection during violent storms can give you and your family the peace of mind that within your home, safety can be guaranteed. Here are a few important facts about having shelter during a storm:

hurricane

  1. Storm shelters are constructed to protect against 250 mph winds and over 3000 pounds of force. Typically these safe rooms are made of steel and fiberglass with concrete foundations as their anchor. They are able to provide the highest level of protection from violent winds.
  2. During a tornado, the safest place to be is underground. While basements certainly provide good shelter, there is a risk factor involved. Debris or parts of the ceiling could collapse from above making it a risky venture. With storm shelters, you do not have to worry about the structure breaking apart in any capacity.
  3. While above ground shelters are made of the same materials and provide great protection, underground shelters can be considered the ultimate shield against destructive weather since debris from a tornado or hurricane can’t affect the sides of the shelter.
  4. All storm shelters must be approved by FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are tested and approved through FEMA strict guidelines. Researchers will test the shelter and their reinforced doors by hitting them with 15 pound two by fours that are shot through a handmade device. They are also tested in a room that simulates a tornado with wind speeds up to 250 miles per hour.
  5. FEMA suggests putting flashlights, a first aid kid, emergency radio, batteries, tools, blankets, water, and food in your shelter. It is important to have your shelter outfitted with these amenities as storms can hit fast and furious and there may not be enough time to collect all these items before taking shelter.

 

It’s easy to see why FEMA-compliant underground storm shelters are your best bet in the face of a forceful storm. Will you be investing in the safety of your future?

June 20, 2014

Uncommon “Twin” Tornados Hit Nebraska

A rare double tornado touched down in northeast Nebraska this week and was caught on video. Officials who surveyed the damage estimated that 75% of the town was destroyed or partly damaged, including houses, a school, a fire station and a church. The small town of Pilger, population 378, which experienced wind speeds varying from 166 to 200 miles per hour according to a meteorologist from the National Weather Service, suffered two casualties and numerous injuries – the first time in 10 years a death was caused from a tornado.

Residents are relying heavily on support from outside sources to provide lifesaving essentials such as shelter, clothing, and meals. The American Red cross is in town to assist residents during this difficult time, but there is a lesson to be learned from the devastation this week.

There are a handful of causes when it comes to twin tornados some include:

  • -Occlusion process: a twister starts to slow down when it gets into cool, moist air but it still can create enough energy in the storm system to spawn another spinning column of air nearby.
  • -When a tornado is dying off, still touching the ground, it could simple continue to spew energy into another system and form another twister. It’s a relatively common situation but the Nebraska twisters were unusually longer than normal.
  • -Multiple-vortex: the storm’s main vortex spawns other vortices that can taper out of each other and have the spread of more than one.
  • -They form from two separate supercells in a close radius and simultaneously join paths.

 

Although severe storms and tornados are more common to their Kansas neighbors, tornados like the ones in Nebraska seem to be occurring in more areas of the country that aren’t used to them. All it takes is one to destroy homes and lives, which is why residents in states like Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Alabama, and Illinois should be prepared for such disasters. A simple, easy, and very cost effective solution that can be used for years to come that will ensure safety is a twister pod. Inexpensive and durable, twister pods are above ground shelters that can house multiple occupants and withstand EF5 level winds.

FEMA released a press release in order to offer assistance to people in Nebraska needing help. They are providing an application for assistance that can help cover costs in removal or debris, repairing and replacing public facilities and pay for emergency protective measures.

Don’t Get Swept Away – Tornado Safety Tips

The 2014 tornado season has been relatively quiet in the Oklahoma City metro area, and even Oklahoma as a whole considering how active last year was! But don’t take the calm for granted. Although the mysterious respite is greatly appreciated, you can count on the fact that it will not last–as Oklahoman’s know all too well. One of the biggest concerns when living in Oklahoma, or the Midwest in general, is the fear of getting caught in a powerful tornado that can easily tear down houses and barns and throw vehicles around like projectiles. Here are some tips on staying safe during tornado season:

1. Have a Severe Weather Plan

If you live in the Midwest, you should have a severe weather plan; in fact you should always be thinking about keeping you and your family safe in the event that a tornado warning is issued. Often times, there are only a few minutes to get to a safe area when a tornado alert is issued and if you are caught off guard, the risks of danger are monumentally high. Being prepared and having a plan can save your life.

  • -Draw up a plan for a preferred route to shelter and have a list of items that are important to grab at an instant.
  • -Build an emergency kit to keep in your shelter – this should contain food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours.
  • -Share your severe weather preparedness plan with friends and family so they know where you are if severe weather hits.
  • -Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or television broadcasts. Always listen to and follow instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • -In case you encounter a tornado while driving, do not take shelter under a bridge or an overpass (N.O.A.A. Slideshow - Youtube video)

 

2. Invest In a Tornado Shelter

Nowadays, many people who live in tornado alley have constructed tornado shelters to protect themselves and their family members in times of need. Whether the shelter is a reinforced closet in their house, a structurally sound basement or a Twister pod, some sort of cover is necessary in order to be protected. Too many times people are misled that tornado warnings and dustings are not serious acts, but when it becomes a time of chaos, people get injured because they were not prepared.

Twister Pod

Don’t assume taking shelter in a vehicle will keep you out of harm’s way because they can get blown around like a leaf in the wind. The best idea is to seek shelter in a reinforced structure that can withstand the beating of tornado elements. If you do not have a basement, there are several tornado shelter options on the market today that can protect you and your family.

Above ground tornado shelters can be designed to fit a number of occupants with the added safety features of thick steel, air ventilation and multi-locking door handles to ensure everyone stays safe and secure. Some provide enough storage to pack essentials like food and water which would be needed in case of a dire emergency.

3. Get Involved

Now is the perfect time to get to know what the rest of your community is doing or plans to do in the event of a severe weather outbreak. Learn about local emergency response plans, drills, and exercises. Maximize awareness by telling others and help them be prepared. Serve your community before disaster strikes.

February 3, 2014

Myths About Above Ground Tornado Shelters

Above ground tornado shelters are a great way to protect yourself and your family since staying in your home is not the safest thing you can do.

For example, a common myth about a tornado is that opening the windows in your home will equalize the pressure which is thought to protect your home from damage. Don’t waste your valuable time in getting to your above ground tornado shelter. If a tornado is going to pass close enough to damage your house, there is nothing you can do to minimize it. Any effort to save your home is only risking lives.

Tornadoes hit big cities just like rural areas! Statistics show that large cities like Oklahoma City and Atlanta, GA, can and are hit by large tornadoes. There are lots more rural areas in the United States than large cities, and a tornado is not discriminate. An above ground tornado shelter, or underground tornado shelter is the only true protection. Just make sure your above ground tornado shelter is ready when you are by making sure it is constructed of the finest products – like steel which stands up to the elements.

Tornadoes are documented as having struck mountainous areas. Don’t forget – tornadoes are not stopped by any terrain! Tornadoes can cross over or travel along rivers or other bodies of water. Get to a tornado shelter!

If you are traveling in your car when you see a tornado, hiding under an overpass is not the safest thing to do. The tornado winds could interact with the structure of the bridge causing you to be in an even more dangerous place.

If possible, when you receive a tornado warning, get to a shelter. If you don’t have one at your house, take a look at the steel construction of our above ground tornado shelters, and choose Survive-a-Storm!

January 24, 2014

Myths About Above Ground Tornado Shelters

Above ground tornado shelters are a great way to protect yourself and your family since staying in your home is not the safest thing you can do.

For example, a common myth about a tornado is that opening the windows in your home will equalize the pressure, which is thought to protect your home from damage. You may have heard: “Don’t waste your valuable time in getting to your above ground tornado shelter.” or  “If a tornado is going to pass close enough to damage your house, there is nothing you can do to minimize it.” and maybe even “Any effort to save your home is only risking lives.”

Tornadoes hit big cities just like rural areas! Statistics show that large cities like Oklahoma City and Atlanta, GA, can and are hit by large tornadoes. There are lots more rural areas in the United States than large cities, and a tornado does not discriminate. An above ground tornado shelter or underground tornado shelter is the only true protection. Just make sure your above ground tornado shelter is ready when you are by making sure it is constructed of the finest products – like steel, which stands up to the elements.

Tornadoes are documented as having struck mountainous areas. Don’t forget – tornadoes are not stopped by any terrain! Tornadoes can cross over or travel along rivers or other bodies of water. Get to a tornado shelter!

If you are traveling in your car when you see a tornado, hiding under an overpass is not the safest thing to do. The tornado winds could interact with the structure of the bridge, causing you to be in an even more dangerous place.

If possible, when you receive a tornado warning, get to a shelter. If you don’t have one at your house, take a look at the steel construction of our above ground tornado shelters, and choose Survive-a-Storm!

 

January 21, 2014

Credentials are a Must—Does Your Storm Shelter Company Have Them?

There are many avenues that we could venture down to ensure the safety of the people we love.  To begin with, one of the first things we might need to ask is, “What exactly are we protecting them from?”  One of the most difficult factors to consider is the fickleness of the weather.  For people living in the path of constant destructive tornadoes, finding sure ways of protecting their family can be quite the challenge.  Storm shelter companies have recently began popping up all over the country trying to ‘cash-in’ on the fears of people who have suffered through their fair share of tornadoes and are willingly selling them the idea of family safety without doing the proper research it takes to build a good, solid, NSSA approved and Texas Tech tested storm shelter.  The idea that fiberglass, cement, or even a wooden shelter can withstand the winds and debris from an EF-5 tornado is hopeful at best.  However, having reinforced solid steel separating your family from disastrous winds and debris can give true peace of mind.  We at Survive-a-Storm Shelters use only 10 gauge steel—the same steel that our military uses to protect their own through steel built naval ships and army tanks.

Survive-a-Storm Shelters are not only Producer Members of the NSSA (National Storm Shelter Association), but our VP of Government Affairs is one of the board members, making sure we are up to speed on all of the policies and guidelines they require.  Also, Survive-a-Storm Shelters is the only storm shelter company to be a member of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) ®, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization.  FLASH is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and man-made disasters.  So you see, we here at Survive-a-Storm Shelters are not one of those companies trying to give a false sense of safety to our customers—the protection we provide not only to families, but to communities, large companies, and even small towns, is solid.

All of our products have been tested by the Texas Wind Institute, we are a trusted supplier to FEMA, and we can supply the storm shelter plans that have been stamped by a licensed professional engineer, stating that your shelter is capable of withstanding 250 MPH winds and that it has been constructed according to those plans.  We have taken every measure to remove any doubts you may have about which kind of shelter would best suit your needs.  For residential needs, we have above ground, below ground, and garage models.  We build community shelters for towns and cities as well as large corporate companies like 3M, Mercedes-Benz, and Siemens.  We have the experience, the knowledge, and even the necessary support and backing from organizations who are regulating our shelters for the highest quality.  What adds to the benefits of such a shelter is the affordability.  We want to protect everyone, so we have made the conscientious effort to offer financing with payment plans through a couple of different companies so that those who need to pay over time, can do so.

When it comes to providing safety to your family where volatile weather is concerned, we want to be a source of strength and comfort to you.  Call us with your questions, for pricing, and for a free quote.  Allow us to help you protect your loved ones, whether they are family, friends, co-workers, or community members.  We are here to help.  Call toll free today @888-360-1492.

December 30, 2013

School Storm Shelters: The Shocking Truth

There’s hot controversy in the state of Oklahoma this year, maybe more than any other, as school PTAs, students, teachers, and even some politicians are pushing for new legislation for mandatory school storm shelters throughout the state. Unfortunately, recent tax cuts have left these people standing in the dust–afraid of the next tornado season–they wonder how many more children must die before school storm shelters are taken seriously.

To view an interactive map on which schools across Oklahoma and which do not, click here.  Then comment. Your voice will make a difference in the school storm shelters debate.

Survive-a-Storm builds underground and above ground community safe rooms, which would be a simple and relatively inexpensive way for the leaders of the State of Oklahoma to provide school storm shelters all throughout their state.

Above Ground Tornado Shelters: Options, Options, Options!

Survive-a-Storm Shelters offers an array of above ground tornado shelters. They come “panelized” to be bolted together when installed, with welded seams to protect from rain, and even with a layer of bullet-resistant material, very similar to Kevlar.

When you call us at 888-360-1492 to discuss your above ground tornado shelter purchase, one of the first questions our representatives will ask is, “How many people are you trying to protect?” We ask this early on, so that we can offer you the right size shelter for your needs. We build our “panelized” above ground tornado shelters in three standard sizes: 4×4, for up to 5 occupants, 6×6, for up to 12 occupants, and 8×8, for up to 16 occupants.

Our fully welded above ground tornado shelter is 4×6 standard. It has several vents and an inward-swinging door, which makes it perfect for a closet shelter.

The bullet-resistant model, called the Defender Vault, comes in 4×4, 6×6, and 8×8. It protects from all the common guns, and even some high caliber weapons. The Defender Vault also comes with a keypad lock option as well, so that any intruders won’t have much of a chance of getting in to you and your loved ones.

Above ground tornado shelters–options for everyone!

Steel Storm Shelters: Remain Strong in All Weather

Steel, one of the strongest building materials around, is the best material for storm shelters in today’s unpredictable and extreme weather events. This is why Survive-a-Storm Shelters uses 10 gauge steel for all of its residential units and 1/4″ steel plate for its community safe rooms. Why do we believe steel storm shelters are the best choice? Below are just a couple of quick reasons:

Steel isn’t porous, which means moisture in the air or soil surrounding it cannot penetrate its walls. This is important, because a porous material, like concrete for instance, will hold moisture…which expands when it’s cold and retracts when it’s warm. This causes cracking and crumbling in the concrete. A crumbling concrete structure is not very safe against high winds and flying debris. In a steel storm shelter, however, especially one powder-coated or covered in coal tar epoxy (methods which deter rusting), there is none of the expanding and contracting. The steel remains intact, no matter what.

A steel storm shelter is almost indestructible by virtue of its relative pliability. Say a heavy, sharp piece of debris falls onto the door of your below ground storm shelter. If you shelter is made of fiberglass, that object will pierce the fiberglass material, ruining it forever. A steel door on a steel storm shelter will only dent, a superficial wound, per se. And dents can be banged back out. Your door (or even your shelter) won’t have to be replaced.

Steel is heavy duty! It’s heavy, it’s thick, and it’s the absolutely perfect material for a quality storm shelter.

Considering a Community Safe Room for Your Organization?

Survive-a-Storm Shelters believes in the value of community safe rooms, especially the models manufactured in our facility. Let us count the ways:

Survive-a-Storm’s Manufacturing Superiority

• More steel and concrete: Survive-a-Storm Shelters have approximately 10% more steel, 15% more concrete and 385% more rebar than the competition.

• Welded construction: Some companies might use only anchor bolts after the shelter is installed to fasten their steel portion to the concrete foundation. But our shelters have anchor bolts AND embed 5/8-inch steel plates that are cast into the concrete. The columns of the safe room are then welded to the embed plates creating a unitized package, or “monolithic structure.”

Multiple Safety Precautions

• Peer review: Our shelters are not only engineer certified, but they also undergo a stringent third-party review by another licensed engineer. This “extra set of eyes” provides the customer added assurance that no detail is missed.

• Cylinder break test: At the same time that the foundation is being poured, Survive-a-Storm shelters pours concrete into three cylinders. These cylinders are brought to a third party concrete facility, where “break tests” are performed: the first at 7 days, the second at 14 days, and the last at 28 days after the pour. The test determines how much pressure is needed to break or crack the cement. Our specifications call for 3000psi, meaning the foundation should withstand 3000 pounds of pressure per square inch. If our concrete doesn’t pass the test by the 28 day test, we will pull up the foundation and pour a new one. ** Our concrete has never failed. **

• Geo-Locator Service: In the event that your community is affected by a tornado, the Survive-a-Storm Emergency Response Center will reach out to your emergency contacts via the phone numbers that you provide for this purpose. If we are still unable to confirm that you are safe and sound, then we will contact first responders in your community and request that they perform a wellness check to ensure that everyone is all right.

• Limited One-year Warranty: Survive-a-Storm Shelters issues a one-year warranty for any manufacturer defects in the safe room.

• We Stick to the Rules: Survive-a-Storm Shelters puts safety codes and laws first. We will provide engineer and architect documents for permits to satisfy state/county/municipal rules for buildings or manufactured dwellings. A good tip is to research your particular town/county’s rules for permitting as part of your community storm shelter shopping. Not all shelter companies pay attention to the rules: some will just sell you a product and let you deal with the rest.

Other Benefits to Installing a Survive-a-Storm Community Safe Room

• Extremely Cost Effective: Why spend millions of dollars for an addition to an existing building, when you can shelter the same number of people for so much less? The average 100-person community shelter costs under $100,000.

• Flexible Payment Options: We’ve linked with a municipal lender, who offers financing to public entities, meaning only 10% of the total cost is paid up front, while the rest can be paid in annual payments. We’re also open to our customers donating portions of their shelter…just speak with one of our community shelter consultants to find the best plan for your community.

• Quick Turn-around: Once a sales order/contract is signed, production begins. Most community safe rooms will be completely installed within 60 days—none will take longer than 90 days.

• Wide Range of Sizes and Options: We can build our community shelters to protect 31 to 300 occupants (according to FEMA 361 and ICC-500 building codes). Community safe rooms are generally built in 8-foot sections. We also are open to new options that customers are interested in. We will do the research and determine if new suggestions will meet FEMA and ICC guidelines.

Survive-a-Storm’s Experience and Qualifications

• Experience Building Community Safe Rooms: Survive-a-Storm Shelters has manufactured, and installed dozens of turn-key community safe rooms in several states: Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Ohio. Our customers have included small businesses, large manufacturing facilities, cities, towns, counties, and schools.

• Producer Member NSSA: The National Storm Shelter Association, a non-profit organization, has decided that Survive-a-Storm Shelters has met and/or exceeded their requirements for quality and adherence to FEMA 320/361 specifications. Not only are we producer members, but our VP of Government Affairs now sits on their board.

• Trusted FEMA supplier: Our parent company, Harbor Enterprises, has an active $153 million contract with FEMA, and our staff has provided over $60,000,000 of wind-rated structures for FEMA (Hurricane Katrina and Haiti earthquake, also some jobs in Sierra Leone and other places).

• Member of FLASH (Federal Alliance for Safe Homes): The non-profit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®) is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and man-made disasters. Their Mission: To promote life safety, property protection and resiliency by empowering the community with knowledge and resources for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and man-made disasters.

 

Interested in a presenting a proposal at your next board meeting or city hall gathering? Give us a call at 888-360-1492, and we’ll provide you with all the information you’ll need!

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