Saferooms & Storm Shelters
Tornado and hurricane season is rapidly approaching, leaving thousands of people in the path of possible residential and commercial disasters. When a tornado hits the Owasso area, the first thing the weatherman will tell you to do is to seek shelter. Nobody wants to be ill-prepared when a natural disaster strikes their property, which is why a storm shelter can be a wonderful investment. There are many benefits to having a storm shelter in your home or business, and we’re going to discuss why installing a storm or tornado shelter is a great investment.
When it comes to the safety of you and your family, it’s important to find a company that has your best interest in mind. At FamilySAFE, we’re proud to provide our clients with EF5-tested above ground and underground tornado shelters and safe rooms. We offer a unique selection of full-tested and certified in-ground and above ground storm shelters for your home. If you’re interested in learning more about our company or you’re interested in getting a free storm shelter quote, contact our friendly staff today.
Storm Shelters & Saferooms
If you live or work in a state that is prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, it may be wise to install a storm shelter on your property. FamilySAFE has certified tornado shelter dealers across all states in the hurricane and Tornado Alley, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
According to Oklahoma’s tornado safety guide, it’s important to go into an enclosed basement or underground shelter if a tornado is coming. Unfortunately, many suburban homes that are constructed in Tornado Alley don’t have basements due to high water tables and rocky soil conditions. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages homeowners to a build saferoom in their home, there are several different kinds of saferooms to consider. Let’s take a look at some popular storm room options below.
Underground Storm Rooms
Most underground storm room’s are made from reinforced steel or concrete. These normally come in the form of prebuilt structures that can be installed underground in your yard or even underneath the garage. The walls and the ceilings of these saferooms are constructed to withstand a variety of extreme weather conditions, to keep you and your family safe from harm.
Above Ground Storm Shelters
As you may have guessed, an above ground storm shelter is a saferoom that is built at ground level. Many people choose to install these storm shelters in their garages. A major benefit of these storm shelters is that in areas that are prone to flooding, these saferooms won’t float away.
Part Of The House
Depending on the water table in your neighborhood, you may be able to build an underground shelter at your home. If you are unable to do this, an alternative structure can be placed inside your home while it is under construction. It’s fairly simple to add a safe room to new homes, and the good news is that your saferoom can even double as a closet or storage room when not in use.
Do I Need A Safe Room?
If you’re not sure whether or not you need a saferoom in your home or business, you may want to ask yourself a few questions, including:
- Is my property at risk of tornadoes and hurricanes?
- Are there existing refuge options if a natural disaster finds its way to my location?
- Should I invest in an above-ground or below-ground saferoom?
Chapter 2 of FEMA P-320 offers information to help homeowners determine whether or not they should install a saferoom in or around their home.
My Home Has A Basement, Should I Install A Saferoom?
When a tornado hits your home, it can wreak havoc on a variety of things. Strong natural disasters can result in a loss of your floor framing, the collapse of your basement walls, and even death and injury to those seeking refuge in the basement. Many homeowners find that their basement is the safest place to seek shelter during a tornado, but it’s important to note that your basement will not provide a high level of protection like a saferoom will. If there are handicapped or physically challenged people in your household, the basement may not be the best place to install a storm shelter, as accessibility can be tricky. The flood risk of your basement should also be a consideration, since you don’t want your saferoom in an area that is prone to heavy water damage.
As A Homeowner, Can I Build My Own Saferoom?
If you own your own home, you may be wondering if you can just build your own saferoom without hiring an outside contractor. While the short answer here is yes, the professionals at FamilySAFE shelters strongly advise you to leave this task to the professionals. There are a handful of prefabricated saferooms on the market that you can purchase and construct on your own, but then you run the risk of improperly installing your saferoom which can lead to issues down the line.
Where Should I Install My Saferoom?
As we mentioned in the section above, there are a variety of places you can choose to install a saferoom. You can build a saferoom inside your home (within the structural footprint of your property) or outside of your home (detached or adjacent to your existing structure). If you’re unsure where the best place to build a saferoom is on your property, contact the professionals at FamilySAFE shelters today.
Can I Install A Saferoom In A New Home?
Absolutely. Saferooms can easily being installed during the initial construction of a home, or even retrofitted afterward. Keep in mind that building a saferoom in an existing home can cost up to 20 percent more on average than building a saferoom in a new home that is under construction. If you’re interested in installing a storm room in your existing home, the foundation of your structure will need to be looked into.
What Should I Look For Residential Tornado Saferoom Doors?
Residential saferooms are becoming popular across Oklahoma homes and businesses as people seek protection from tornadoes and other natural disasters. Like any room in your home, a saferoom must be accessed through an opening or door. Your saferoom door should be carefully constructed to protect against harsh winds and harmful airborne debris. If you fail to install the best kind of saferoom door for your tornado shelter, you are putting you and your family at risk of injury or even death.
No matter what kind of door you choose for your saferoom, it’s critical to make sure the door you purchase comes from a certified saferoom supplier. In order for a saferoom door to provide life-safety protection during a natural disaster, it must be rigorously designed, constructed, and tested. While FEMA does not certify products, most saferoom door manufacturers must certify that their products have passed ICC 500 testing to meet FEMA saferoom criteria.
What Is A Community Saferoom?
If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, you may want to do some research on community saferooms in your area. A community saferoom can help to provide you and your family with near-absolute protection when it comes to a variety of natural disasters. Each and every year, tornadoes, hurricanes, and harmful windstorms lead to numerous injuries and fatalities, costing millions of dollars in property damage. Every state that is at risk for tornadoes and severe weather should have a community saferoom. To learn more about these storm shelters, check out FEMA’s website today.
How Many People Have Died From Tornadoes?
Did you know that the National Weather Service didn’t start keeping track of tornadoes until the 1950s? Since then, the deadliest tornado year recorded struck in 2011, claiming a whopping 553 lives. Unlike hurricanes and earthquakes, tornadoes often affect smaller geographical areas but occur more often and cause more deaths. In fact, from 1950 to 2011, tornadoes caused more than 5,600 fatalities in the United States alone.
When Should I Install A Storm Shelter In My Home?
There are many factors that can influence the decision to construct a safe room on your residential or commercial property. Some of the top reasons include:
- You live in an area that is often threatened by extreme winds and weather conditions
- Your structure is vulnerable to the harsh winds that tornados and hurricanes produce
- Your business wants to provide protection to its employees
- You work in a government-owned building that is required to have a safe room
- There are insurance benefits for installing a saferoom
Unless saferoom installation is required by your building code, the decision to construct one should begin with risk assessment. The saferoom risk assessment process for any location will have two major elements:
- The threat or the probability of the occurrence of an extreme-wind event, and
- The vulnerability of the community’s building(s) and population to the hazard.
What Happens When A Tornado Hits A Building?
Tornado damage can have devastating effects on the structure of your building and the people inside of it. To truly understand the kind of tornado damage that can occur, three things must be considered: the wind-induced forces, changes in atmospheric pressure, and debris impact. The intense wind speeds generated by tornadoes are so great that they go beyond the scope of building codes and most engineering standards. Wind can create inward and outward-acting pressure on building surfaces. This pressure can create what is known as an uplift, which can force the building to break apart if it is too weak to resist the winds.
What Are The Design Parameters That Affect A Saferoom?
If you’re thinking about installing a saferoom in your home or office, there are a few things that can affect your costs. The design parameters of your saferoom can have a tremendous effect on the pricetag. Some of these things include:
- Single-use Versus Multi-use: Whether you plan on using your saferoom for single or multi-use purposes, this can have an effect on the price of construction. A simple design for a single-family saferoom will be cheaper when compared to a multi-use community saferoom.
- Saferoom Design Wind Speed: Depending on the state you live in, the design wind speed of your saferoom will impact the overall cost of the project.
Saferoom Foundation: The foundation of your saferoom will also have an effect on its cost. If you’re interested in investing in a new in-ground saferoom, it may cost more due to the required excavation. As we mentioned above, the most cost-effective way to design a saferoom is to include it in new building plans and blueprints. The cost of retrofitting an existing building can be higher due to additional construction and design constraints.
FamilySAFE: Your Partner In Saferoom & Tornado Shelters
If you’re interested in investing in a saferoom for your home or business, contact FamilySAFE Shelters today. We started our business in 1998 in an effort to protect our own families from the severe weather conditions in the United States. We specialize in creating storm shelters, and each of our shelters is engineered, tested, and certified by our installers. As the most experienced above-ground shelter company in the United States, we’re proud to offer our clients storm shelters that can withstand direct hits from RF4s and EF5 tornadoes. If you’re still not sure about working with our professionals, consider the points below.
- We’ve installed over 20,000 storm shelters and saferooms
- We are the only company with a written letter of endorsement from the HILTI anchorage company
- We are the oldest above-ground steel shelter company in the United States
- We have the passion and experience to get the job done
Whether you’re interested in installing an above-ground tornado shelter or underground saferoom, our specialists can help. We install storm shelters all across the United States, but we started in the heart of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have storm shelter dealers across the country, and our professionals are eager to assist you. Contact our friendly staff today to get started!