Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Revisiting Storm Safe Rooms and Structures



           As I have said a number of times before, I am not a proponent of "bunkers".   I truly believe that many if not most people can prepare for reasonable natural disasters and man made ones, using the structures in which they live, and by making reasonable preparations, often with items located in the shops and stores you already use.
            There are a few instances where bunkers or especially where tornado shelters can be necessary and beneficial.  Homes and subdivisions where there are no basements, or homes in places like Kansas, Oklahoma and other states where tornadoes can be frequent and basements might not be, are places where sometimes families consider a buried structure in emergencies.    I have a finished basement here at home, but for the purposes of research for this blog and for my daughter's home, I have been looking into storm structures, particularly those which are just underground.
            In my research, I was most interested in the tornado structures which could be buried.  Here is the e-mail I received from the president of the company above.  It is my hope that this information, some of which is very interesting, will be helpful to you.

Letter from Mr. Webb:

We started in the underground shelter business in 1995.  We no longer recommend the underground shelter.  Why?  When digging a hole in the ground you hit underground water.  Engineers have told us that the ground shifts and cracks (2’)-thick concrete-steel reinforced house foundations.  It only takes a hairline crack and the hydrostatic pressure from the underground water will fill the shelter up with water.  If you are one of the lucky 3 of 10 that does not hit underground water it won’t leak with a (½”) crack, but they still sweat and mildew.  The vent sucks out the moister, but sucks in the dirt. 
The Steel Yard Bunker is $3,695 plus $3,500 delivery and (?) installation. 

Warning!  Some townships have outlawed the in-floor garage shelter because of occupant safety.  We no longer offer this unit.  Find out why the
above ground safe room is the best bang for your buck! 

FEMA paid Texas Tech Wind Research Center to design the above ground safe room to withstand an EF-5 rated tornado.  FEMA claims that the above ground safe room is better than the underground shelter if you don’t have to run into the storm to get away from the storm.  After dropping a Lincoln 4-door Sedan from 30 feet in the air onto the Iron Eagle designed safe room and not leave a dent! 
We took the same safe room to the Wind Research Center and failed the test.  We had to reengineer the safe room and go back for our EF-5 Certificate (twice).  Tough test!
Many Home Builders build safe rooms from the FEMA Hand Book with no FEMA Certificate!  Realtors have told us they cannot list the home with a safe room without the FEMA Certificate.  Our certificate is list on the front page of our website.

Our most popular safe room is the 4’ x 6’ (4-5 person) Iron Eagle-II (1/4”steel) for $4,295 plus $950 garage installation
(includes lifting service, labor, HILTI Anchors & Epoxy, shop and warehouse expenses) plus $1,255 split-load delivery (reflecting $1,000 savings).  Total price is $6,495 delivered and installed.  Deduct $300 for Iron Eagle-I ($6195).
Add ($700) for 4’ x 8’ (6-7 person) add ($1,800) for 6’ x 8’ (9-10 person) and subtract $300 for 4’ x 4’ (in stock) safe rooms. 

The (Newly Designed) Storm Guard-III is the Builder’s Choice for new construction, basements and existing rooms. 
The (10ga) Storm Guard-III bolt together channel panel safe room forms a (2”) I-Beam every (12”) in the walls and ceiling that can be sheet-rocked, electrically wired, painted and trimmed to match the home.  Standard panels for ceiling & headroom length and height for Storm Guard-III is (4’, 6’, 7’, and 10’) lengths (custom safe rooms are available). 
The (2-person) do-it-yourself (3’ x 4’ x 6’2”) safe room starts at $2,795 plus $950 delivery, ($950) installation, and ($300) assembly (Total $4,995).
Add $1,000 for (5-person) 4' x 6' (Total $5,995) 

You can purchase your Factory-Outlet Direct Safe Room and take advantage of our Split-Load Freight Savings Program from the largest (stocking inventory) Safe Room Manufacture in the United States. 
Located in Tornado Alley of Oklahoma for almost 40-years (1974) with a warehouse in Tornado Alley of Alabama since 2001 makes us more competitive than our competition.  If you are interested in the ($1,000) Split-Load Delivery Savings please call 800 324 9322 or (cell) 918 519 0576 for appointment or additional information.

Brad Webb, President 


Again,  I am not saying that most people require such a thing, because many do not.  However, I do wish to make information available to those who live in tornado alley or those who live in tornado prone areas.  My own state of Virginia was not known for frequent tornadoes. However, in the past several years, a number of serious tornadoes have occurred here, and there have been tornado deaths.  What I am saying is that everyone should have a tornado plan


lotta joy said...

We would gather up our flashlights, radio, water, Beau, and head for the unfinished basement. I never realized that Florida, with its hurricanes, also has tornadoes. Talk about adding insult to injury. Our plan is to hope we get at least one photo of it before we're demolished.

JaneofVirginia said...

Lotta Joy,
Certainly, an unfinished basement is a great place to go. Most people, who don't have one of these, can simply go to a windowless room if they have one. Many are advised to get into the tub, cover themselves with a comforter and cover their heads with a pillow. I have been very surprized how well many people have done during tornadoes with simply these precautions. We have had quite a few of these in the last few years.