Protect Your Family with a Storm Shelter

Springtime use to be the time to worry about tornados showing up in tornado alley. Over the years, the climate has changed and now tornados and severe storms are happening earlier in the year and later than springtime. Debris turns into weapons when high winds develop. Taking a few moments to learn about shelters and how they can protect you and your family is vital. 

There are different types of tornado shelters to protect you and your family from the high winds and debilitating debris flying around. In some states, especially throughout tornado alley, it is recommended that new homes all have a safe room built into the home. It is extremely important for homeowners to have a plan in place in the event of an oncoming tornado warning. 

Shelters that are Underground 

Reinforced steel and or concrete make up the design for underground shelters. These prebuilt structures are usually installed in the yard underground or under the garage floor. They are a bit different from a home basement. All the walls and the ceilings are reinforced to withstand high winds and debris coming at them at high speeds. The one concern about underground shelters is that the occupants of the home may not be able to get to the shelter in time. 

Part of the House Shelters 

You may not be able to build an underground shelter due to a highwater table in your area. Your other option is a shelter that is built right into the home. While the home is being built, an extra fortified room can be constructed as your shelter. It can also be used as a closet or storage room when not used for safety as a shelter. The fortified room would be reinforced concrete, steel or wood and would be anchored to the homes own foundation. The idea of it being anchored to the foundation would give you the extra protection of the room lifting or overturning during wild and strong winds. 

In Home Prebuilt Shelter 

An existing home can have a prebuilt shelter installed. It should be installed on the first floor, so it can be anchored to the foundation. Prebuilt shelters are welded steel boxes, prefabricated units that have already been bolted together or a steel skeleton with steel panels.

Your first step is getting the shelter, but that is not all that will be needed for you and your family’s protection. The shelter needs to have supplies. Your emergency kit should contain essentials like a first aid kit, non-perishable food, weather radio, blankets, water for each person and a solid flashlight. 

Each member of the family should know how to get to the shelter, how to access the shelter and what they should bring in case of an emergency. A practice run each year would be a good thing to do so each person keeps familiar with the routine, in case a tornado warning comes. Practicing also helps to keep the mind alert to the dangers of tornados.