Survive-A-Storm Blog

August 21, 2014

Storm Shelters: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

We all remember that famous storm scene in one of the most famous movies of all-time, The Wizard of Oz, where Auntie Em and Uncle Henry are gathering everyone into their storm cellar as the mighty twister starts bearing down on their family’s idyllic Kansas farm.  I have watched this scene countless times and always have the same question run through my brain…”Wonder what the inside of that storm shelter looked like?”  Being that the iconic film was from 1938 the answer is probably quite simple: not very fancy!

The very first storm shelters were very basic structures that were designed with one mission in mind, to withstand the powerful winds that encompass a tornado.  The underground structure was typically made of concrete and used for many different purposes in its unoccupied time.  Some were used as storage for canned vegetables and jellies while others provided a place to store unused farm equipment and supplies.  The storm shelter took on a completely different look in the 1960s and 70s with the development and use of FRP, fiber-reinforced plastic, commonly known as fiberglass.  These shelters were easy to create, but not without flaws.  In the 1980s, numerous local governments began outlawing shelters made with inferior fiberglass material.  These municipalities found the storm shelter’s structural integrity could be compromised from chemicals seeping through the soil.  These chemicals could actually penetrate the fiberglass creating a decomposition issue and render the shelter useless.  Steel storm shelters came on the radar relatively recently and provide the ultimate in protection from a tornado or any storm with potentially damaging winds.

All Survive-a-Storm safe rooms and storm shelters are made of American made steel and are debris impact tested by Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Research Center.  We offer many models from which to choose ranging from above ground safe rooms to underground storm shelters.  You can still store Auntie Em’s jelly inside, but our options go way beyond that.  When developing your personalized safe room or storm shelter the possibilities are extremely exciting.  How does a flat-screen television sound?  Or comfortable bunk beds for your kids?  What about a microwave?  We make these possibilities become reality at Survive-a-Storm.  Call or come by our Oklahoma City showroom today to discover why Survive-a-Storm is the best in the industry.  We’ll be waiting for you…and Toto!

August 19, 2014

FEMA Compliant: How Safe is Your Safe Room?

FEMA logo

The term “FEMA compliant” in the world of storm shelters and tornado safe rooms is an extremely important one, but what does it mean?  The term refers to a set of guidelines set forth by the federal government that serve as a pathway for design, construction, and operation criteria for both community and residential safe rooms and storm shelters that will provide near-absolute life saving protection during tornadic activity.  It provides guidance for architects, engineers, fabricators, local officials, emergency managers, and potential storm shelter/safe room owners about the design, construction, and operation of these structures in extreme wind and weather conditions.

Here at Survive-a-Storm Shelters we care about the safety of you and your family.  That’s why all of our above ground safe rooms and underground storm shelters are FEMA compliant.  Our residential structures fall under FEMA 320 guidelines and our community storm shelters fall under FEMA 361.  Survive-a-Storm is also a member of the International Code Council and the National Storm Shelter Association.  We also subject all of our shelters to debris impact testing at Texas Tech University Wind Science and Research Center (WISE) or other recognized laboratories.  The testing protocol is pretty simple:  The technician uses a pneumatic cannon that is capable of producing simulated wind speeds over 250 mph.  Once the shelter is setup, the cannon launches different types of simulated wind-born debris.

This means that each Survive-a-Storm customer, no matter which model they choose, can be assured that they are receiving the safest, highest quality storm shelter or tornado safe room on the market!

Check out all of your options right here at survive-a-storm.com or call us with any questions you might have at 1-888-360-1492.

August 15, 2014

Above Ground Safe Room: Is It the Right Choice for You?

Twister Pod tornado shelter

Survive-A-Storm’s Twister Pod

There are many options in the ever-evolving world of storm preparedness and storm shelters.  The decision that often causes the most confusion is whether you should use an above ground storm shelter or an underground storm shelter.  Here at Survive-A-Storm we manufacture both above and underground storm shelters, and we believe both types are equally safe places to shelter in the event of a tornado.

During the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that struck Moore, Oklahoma in May 2013, researchers from Texas Tech University were interested in seeing what types of structures fared well.  Larry Tanner, a research associate from the university, and his team found sixteen above ground safe rooms in or near the damage path of the storm.  “All performed great,” Tanner said.  Tanner also stated that FEMA complaint above ground shelters have had a difficult time catching-on in Oklahoma, where people have been told for decades that the safest place during a storm is below ground.  Tanner also did research after the Joplin, Missouri EF5 tornado in 2011 and found that FEMA compliant above ground shelters there also performed, in his words, “excellently”.

So now that you know you can be safe above ground, it’s best to be fully aware of your options.  Survive-A-Storm Shelters has a wide variety of above ground tornado safe rooms.  These are great options for people with limited space.  All of our above ground tornado shelters can be easily installed in a corner of your garage, and some can be installed and ready to protect you in under a couple of hours.  Above ground models are also great for people with limited mobility.  Minutes and even seconds count when there is a major storm headed your way and traveling just a few steps into your garage sometimes can be the difference between triumph and tragedy.

The Survive-a-Storm TwisterPod is a cylindrically shaped above ground steel tornado safe room that bolts to a concrete floor in a garage, under a carport, or on a patio.  Measuring 4-feet in diameter, the TwisterPod is ideal for up to four people.

The Survive-a-Storm Extreme is a rectangular shaped above ground steel tornado shelter that bolts to a concrete floor in a garage, under a carport, or on a patio.  Constructed from quarter-inch steel, this shelter is also rated as NIJ Level 2A Ballistic Resistant, meaning that it will withstand gunfire from a weapon up to a 45 caliber ACP.  The Extreme Model tornado shelter will protect up to 8 people.

The Survive-a-Storm ShelterCube line of storm shelters represents our panelized tornado safe rooms ranging in size from 4-feet x 4-feet to 8-feet x 8 feet.  This solution is perfect for use on the interior of a home or office where it is not possible to install a pre-constructed shelter.  This panelized solution allows the unit to be transported in 2-foot wide panels and then bolted together and installed on-site.

All of our above ground safe rooms are sealed by the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) and are FEMA 320 compliant.  They have been tested at Texas Tech University or other comparable labs, and they will provide near absolute protection against an EF5 tornado.

The most important thing to remember when shopping for protection for you and your family is to determine whether or not the model has passed a debris impact test.  Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Research Center has certified all Survive-A-Storm models.  So what are you waiting for?  Check out our great selection of above ground safe rooms today!

August 14, 2014

Concrete: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth

This Below Ground Max is rated for 16 occupants.

This Below Ground Max is rated for 16 occupants.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Truth

Concrete: The Good—There is absolutely nothing wrong with creating structures with good, solid concrete, especially when it is mixed and poured correctly.  There are many uses for concrete, and some favorites include the making of swimming pools.  Everyone loves a refreshing swimming pool, right?  And as far as buildings go, concrete does serve its purpose.  Structures like bridges and homes and skyscrapers tend to last for many years without fault, especially with proper maintenance.  And as far as roadways are concerned, our cars prefer concrete to dirt or gravel any day.

Concrete: The Bad—There are some issues with concrete structures that can occur, and for the purpose of this article, we will concentrate on storm shelter structures.  Concrete has a bad habit of sweating– especially underground storm shelters made out of concrete. With extra moisture underground, one might find themselves with a mold issue, which is extremely unhealthy.

Another major concern is the fact that concrete storm shelters can crack under pressure.  Once the crumbling begins, who knows if it will ever stop.  Should one decide to build a concrete storm shelter above ground, then one would have to consider that it is really not much different than the homes and buildings that can be destroyed by tornadoes.  The safest and most reliable storm shelter is one made of American made steel, just like the ones constructed and designed by Survive-a-Storm Shelters.  Since many people believe that going below ground is much safer than trying to weather the storm above ground, then one would have to agree that a steel storm shelter would be much safer and structurally sound.

Concrete: The Ugly Truth—is that even though we as a society tend to place a lot of faith in concrete for our above ground needs like buildings, roads, homes, schools, etc., trying to protect our families and loved ones with a cheaply made precast concrete shelter is asking for future trouble, such as a shelter being full of water or covered in mold when you need it the most.

For details on what Survive-a-Storm Shelters has to offer, no matter how big or small your group is, call us at 1-888-360-1492 to speak with a knowledgeable storm shelter expert.

Does Your Storm Shelter Meet FEMA Standards?

Oklahoma, sitting right in the heart of “Tornado Alley”, is a great state with unlimited perseverance and true grit.  While tornadoes are second nature to the residents of Oklahoma, finding ways to keep families safe from these devastating tornadoes remains a top priority.

Because both concrete and fiberglass storm shelters tend to crack under pressure, many Oklahomans find that the safest storm shelters are ones made of American-made steel.  Survive-a-Storm Shelters is a company that so many Oklahoma communities and citizens have turned to because of the high standards that go into the production of constructing our FEMA compliant tornado shelters, as well as the testing that Survive-a-Storm Shelters voluntarily adheres to.

There are storm shelter companies who are taking advantage of Oklahoma’s need for safety and are creating storm shelters that appear to be safe, but do not always go through the process of having their storm shelters tested to ensure top-quality work.  Survive-a-Storm Shelters only sells products that have been engineered, peer reviewed, and have passed rigorous assessments stating that our shelters meet FEMA 320 guidelines.

Many Oklahoma consumers have turned to Survive-a-Storm Shelters to ensure they are receiving a top-quality storm shelter that meets or exceeds their city or county’s guidelines.  With thousands of satisfied customers, Survive-a-Storm Shelters continues to grow and thrive in a state that wants and needs and deserves protection for their loved ones.  The love and support that Oklahoma communities have for each other and that has been witnessed firsthand by the Survive-a-Storm team has been amazing and inspiring.  Survive-a-Storm will continue to work hard to build the best storm shelters in America, so that when tornado season strikes, Oklahomans will be secure in knowing that they chose a company that cares for their safety and well being.

Faraday Cage Effect

Here at Survive-a-Storm Shelters, we use steel to build our world-class storm shelters.  There are many reasons to use steel in manufacturing, but the main reason is simple:  strength. Our steel tornado shelters are stronger than their fiberglass and concrete counterparts.  One of the problems customers encounter with fiberglass and concrete is cracking.  Structural integrity is paramount during a storm, and a shelter with a crack is not the storm shelter that you want your family in during one.

Concrete also “sweats” or releases moisture, and nobody wants a sweaty storm shelter, right?  That being said, we always have questions about the safety of being in a steel structure during an electrical storm.  Some people are concerned that lightning can actually penetrate a steel shelter.  But this concern is unwarranted as it applies to a Survive-a-Storm Shelters steel storm shelter.  Here’s why…

The safety of a steel structure during an electrical storm can be explained with a little trip back to science class.  It’s called the Faraday Effect.  This effect is named for the English scientist Michael Faraday who invented the so-called “Faraday Cage” back in 1836.  The steel cage (storm shelter) acts as a conductor by channeling through the steel providing constant voltage on all sides of the structure evenly.  Since the difference in voltage is the measure of electrical potential, no current flows through the inside of the shelter.  Yay for science!

Another great example of how this effect can keep people safe is when electrical linemen are asked to wear Faraday suits when working on electrical lines.  These specially designed suits allow them to work on high voltage power lines without the risk of electrocution.  The suit prevents electrical current from flowing through the body.  So the bottom line is you can escape a dangerous storm in your Survive-a-Storm steel storm shelter and not have to worry that you will be electrocuted in the process!

For those of you who would like a little visual reference, here is a link to a great video about the Faraday Cage.  Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t23iXhEiQUc&feature=related&pos=2

ShelterMoore Grant Program

ShelterMoore_Logo

ShelterMoore Grant Program

ShelterMoore Grant Program

 

The spring of 2013 wielded a veracious tornado season, especially for Moore and Shawnee Oklahoma, where numerous tornadoes hit, reaching strengths to EF5 and leaving behind great devastation. More than twenty-four people died, and 377 were reported injured. This effect was similar to those of the tornadoes that ripped through this area back in 1999 and killing more than 50 people.

With such recent history and severe damage caused by the 1999 tornadoes, many had hoped Moore residents would have been better prepared with storm shelters, but very few were. However, the money from the ShelterMoore Grant Program is helping the citizens of the Moore community correct the issue by helping rebate winners reach their goal of owning storm shelters so that, in the event of future tornados, they will be able to protect their families.

Despite new residential building requirements with stronger construction in place, most homes are still no match for an EF4 or EF5 tornado. No one knows this better than Oklahomans.  So what can be done to ensure safe living in a state full of people who love it and want to keep calling Oklahoma home?  One step is to build homes from the strongest materials available. Another is to provide that home with a safe room to weather the storm.

The safest place to be during one of these horrific windstorms is a FEMA compliant storm shelter. Many Oklahomans know this, but something–whether it be finances or time–has still prevented some people from equipping their homes with a safe room or storm shelter.

The ShelterMoore Grant Program, funded primarily by the Red Cross, has helped make storm shelters more affordable for many residents of the town of Moore. The grant was created to reimburse Moore, OK residents up to $2500.00 for the cost of installing a storm shelter in their homes. Survive-a-Storm helped with several storm shelter models of varying sizes, priced starting at less than $3,500. And Survive-a-Storm’s knowledgeable storm shelter experts helped guide residents through the process of applying for their rebates.

August 13, 2014

Moore Grant Program in Mustang, OK

The town of Mustang, Oklahoma, located in Canadian County, is definitely a very high-risk tornado area.  Located about 13 miles SW of Oklahoma City, the small community of Mustang has fallen victim to some very deadly tornadoes.  The largest tornado in the Mustang area was an F-5 in 1999 that caused 583 injuries and 36 deaths. Thankfully, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (ODEM) has taken notice and relief is on the way.

The SoonerSafe–Safe Room Rebate program was developed in 2011 for the purchase and installation of safe rooms for Oklahoma homeowners.   Any type of safe room is eligible for the rebate as long as it meets or exceeds the specifications set forth in the 2008 versions of FEMA Publication 320 (Taking Shelter from the Storm) and FEMA 361 (Design and Construction Criteria for Community Safe Rooms), as well as ICC-500 (Standards for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters).

Survive-a-Storm Shelters, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is one company that not only falls in line with the expectations set forth by FEMA and ODEM, but also, Survive-a-Storm Shelters has been providing assistance to many other counties and cities all across the great state of Oklahoma.

The Survive-a-Storm Shelters showroom has a variety of storm shelters on display, and consumers are welcome to make an appointment to meet with a tornado shelter expert or to simply drop by to discuss the available options.  We often receive inquiries about financing, rebate and grant program assistance, permits, and, of course, requests for information about our best-in-class storm shelters and tornado safe rooms.

Survive-a-Storm Shelters has been instrumental in the implementation of the Moore Grant program and is ready and able to help the rebate winners in Mustang, Oklahoma as well.   Two of the most popular shelters for the Mustang rebate program are the Survive-a-Storm TwisterPod and Extreme model storm shelters, which are both above ground tornado safe rooms that fit neatly into the corner of a garage, under a carport, or on the patio.

There are many other styles of storm shelters available from Survive-a-Storm which can be viewed on our website at www.survive-a-storm.com.  Survive-a-Storm Shelters does not want anyone to live in fear or to go unprotected.  Call us today at 1-888-360-1492 to speak with one of our knowledgeable storm shelter experts.

Into The Storm Misses The Mark

Did you see the wind-whirling, storm-chasing blockbuster ‘Into The Storm’ this past weekend? ‘Into The Storm’ debuted August 8 and missed the box office mark; nowhere near close to recouping the cost of the production ($50 million) on opening weekend. While the visual effects were a near reality, movie-goers only accounted for $18 million.

In case you haven’t heard of this Mother Nature inspired film, it depicts town people trying to survive a storm by seeking shelter in various places. A team of storm chasers subsequently tries to record the magnitude of the huge tornado and compile data for later research. Does this plot sound a little familiar?

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August 7, 2014

Benefits of Storm Shelters

storm shelter

It’s no secret that nature can be a very violent, scary force that can wreak havoc on lives and property. Remember watching the coverage of the EF-5 killer tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma in May of 2013? Safety and protection is the number one priority when it comes to dangerous weather. Tornadoes in particular can pose the most danger when they occur; they have the capability of whirling winds in excess of 300 miles per hour with a damage path that can exceed 50 miles long! Tornado season typically runs its course from March through August, but other strong storms can happen at any time.

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