Survive-A-Storm Blog

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!

NSSA and the Industry Standard–What Kind of Quality Are You Looking For in a Storm Shelter?

1970, Lubbock Texas—a tornado rips through, killing 26 people and destroying 1/3rd of the ‘hub’ of the South Plains.  Texas Tech researchers took this opportunity to document the damage in order to find ways of improving building structures for resisting extreme winds.  By 1974, the idea of the above ground storm shelter was born.  Over the years, development of a better, stronger, more durable safe room continued.  When a tornado wiped out an entire subdivision in Jarrell, Texas in 1997, Texas Tech University was ready for their above ground storm shelter to be featured.   FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, developed a high interest in storm shelters, even publishing a prescriptive guidebook for designing small residential shelters called “Taking Shelter from the Storm.” In 1999, the impact of Oklahoma City area tornadoes caused widespread coverage from the media, noting that an above ground shelter withstood an F-5 tornado.  Incentives were then put into place by both Oklahoma and FEMA for people building or re-building their homes.  However, this did not include below ground shelters due to the lack of standards and familiarity with them.  Because of the quality issues where below ground shelters were concerned, Dr. Kiesling from Texas Tech University invited the more than 20 storm shelter companies who were already testing their aboveg round units at their FEMA approved lab, and addressed the concerns.  It was in this meeting where the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) was developed, and Lubbock, Texas was designated as its headquarters.

The NSSA developed standards for which the storm shelter industry should follow for the design, construction, and installation of their shelters.  The NSSA directors adopted what is known as the NSSA Standard, an evolving document which underwent periodic changes as new needs were acknowledged and addressed.  In May 2002, NSSA signed an agreement with the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. of the International Code Council to develop a national consensus standard for storm shelters.  The International Code Council/National Storm Shelter Association (ICC/NSSA) Standard for Design and Construction of Storm Shelters will be accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and will serve until the ICC/NSSA Standard is published.  When shopping for your own shelter, one of the main components of finding the right company should include whether or not it is an NSSA approved shelter.

We here at Survive-a-Storm Shelters are not only NSSA members, but our vice-president, Matt Williams, serves on the board as a director as well.  We know quality.  We know safety.  We know storm shelters.  Give us a call today to see how we can develop the best storm shelter for your family’s needs.  888-360-1492

FEMA 320: A Great Guide to Understanding Tornadoes and Storm Shelters

FEMA 320 is a guide to residential storm shelters: it promotes understanding tornadoes and deciding on the best protection for you and your loved ones. Survive-a-Storm Shelters follows the regulations outlined in the FEMA 320 publication, from size and occupancy standards to engineering specifications in the construction of storm shelters.

While engineers, architects, and manufacturers of storm shelters use FEMA 320 to do their jobs correctly, it doesn’t mean the average person should feel intimidated by its contents. This guide has been written so that every person will understand their risks; after all, knowledge is power.

Some sections you may find of interest:

Section I: Understanding the Hazards

This section has colorful maps, which are great for determining your risks by location. There is also a chart which illustrates the damage done by tornadoes, from EF-1 to EF-5. It also introduces some tornado and hurricane terminology, which will be helpful when shopping for a storm shelter. Probably the most important part of this section is the Homeowner’s Worksheet, which assists in planning for emergencies.

Section II: Planning Your Safe Room

This section gives ideas for building your own safe room (if you’re into DIY!). It also details the testing done by Texas Tech, which all Survive-a-Storm’s shelters have passed. The pictures in this guide certainly give you a good idea of the rigor of this testing.

Section III: Building Your Safe Room

Looking over this section might just prompt you to build your own shelter–but hey, when you have professionals who’ve gone through the testing and the inspections, you may want to go ahead and give us a call…We’ll build it just right!!

To look over the FEMA 320 guide for yourself, just click here.

To order your FEMA 320-compliant shelter from us, call 888-360-1492. We can’t wait to hear what you’ve learned!

This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Root Cellar

Have you ever climbed down into a root cellar? Complete with a shaky, unstable ladder and a dusty dirt floor? Just pull a flat piece of wood over the opening and cover it with dirt, and your fruits and veggies will stay cool all year long. But as for safety–when it’s time to hunker down from a raging EF-5 tornado, is this where you want to be?

Lucky for us, we live in the 21st century, where technology is advanced and building codes are in place to protect us and truly keep us safe. We now have state-of-the-art steel storm shelters, engineered to hold steady under the weight of the earth, and coated in coal tar epoxy to keep out water.

Today’s storm shelters, like those built by Survive-a-Storm Shelters, also have heavy duty steel doors with six-point locking systems, which will withstand both falling debris and the powerful vacuum-like winds of a powerful tornado. We’ve even solved the wobbly ladder problem: stairways welded onto the storm shelters, making entering and exiting your storm shelter a breeze.

Sure, you can still store your potatoes and cabbages in your root cellar. You might just not want to climb in there with your kids during a violent wind storm, is all.

Page 1 of 812345...Last »