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 custom storm shelter can be a wonderful investment. There are many benefits to having a custom residential safe room or custom commercial storm shelter, 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 or your employees, 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 fully-tested and certified in-ground and above ground storm shelters for your home. If you’re interested in learning more about our storm shelter company or you’re interested in getting a free storm shelter quote, contact FamilySAFE Shelters today.

The Best Custom Storm Shelters & Safe Rooms

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 build a residential safe room in their home, there are several different kinds of safe rooms 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 safe rooms 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 safe room 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 safe rooms won’t float away.

Part Of The House

Depending on the water table in your neighborhood, you may be able to build an underground storm 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 safe room 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 custom safe room 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 safe room?

Chapter 2 of FEMA P-320 offers information to help homeowners determine whether or not they should install a safe room in or around their home.

My Home Has A Basement, Should I Install A Safe Room?

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 custom safe room will. If there are handicapped or physically challenged people in your household, the basement may not be the best place to install a custom storm shelter, as accessibility can be tricky. The flood risk of your basement should also be a consideration, since you don’t want your safe room in an area that is prone to heavy water damage.

As A Homeowner, Can I Build My Own Safe Room?

If you own your own home, you may be wondering if you can just build your own safe room or storm shelter without hiring an outside tornado shelter 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 safe rooms on the market that you can purchase and construct on your own, but then you run the risk of improperly installing your safe room which can lead to issues down the line.

Where Should I Install My Safe Room?

As we mentioned in the section above, there are a variety of places you can choose to install a commercial safe room or residential storm shelter. You can build a safe room 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 safe room is on your property, contact the professionals at FamilySAFE shelters today.

Can I Install A Safe Room In A New Home?

Absolutely! Safe rooms can be easily installed during the initial construction of a home, or even retrofitted afterward. Keep in mind that building a safe room in an existing home can cost up to 20% more on average than building a storm shelter or safe room in a new home that is under construction. If you’re interested in installing a custom storm room in your existing home, the foundation of your structure will need to be looked into.

What Should I Look For In Residential Tornado Safe Room Doors?

Residential storm rooms are becoming popular across much of the United States as people seek protection from tornadoes and other natural disasters. Like any room in your home, a safe room must be accessed through an opening or door. Your custom safe room door should be carefully constructed to protect against harsh winds and harmful airborne debris. If you fail to install the best kind of safe room door for your residential 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 safe room or tornado shelter, it’s critical to make sure the door you purchase comes from a certified safe room supplier. In order for a safe room 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 safe room door manufacturers must certify that their products have passed ICC 500 testing to meet FEMA safe room criteria.

What Is A Community Safe Room?

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 safe rooms in your area. A community safe room 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 safe room or tornado shelter. 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. With a custom storm room or tornado shelter, you can help keep you, or family, or your employees safe from tornadoes and other natural disasters.

When Should I Install A Storm Shelter In My Home?

There are many factors that can influence the decision to construct a residential safe room or commercial tornado shelter on your 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 tornadoes 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 custom safe room

Unless safe room installation is required by your building code, the decision to construct one should begin with risk assessment. The safe room risk assessment process for any location will have two major elements:

  1. The threat or the probability of the occurrence of an extreme-wind event, and
  2. 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. The best tornado shelters are designed to both resist these forces and are made out of strong, durable materials that help keep those inside safe from debris.

What Are The Design Parameters That Affect A Safe Room?

If you’re thinking about installing a safe room in your home or office, there are a few things that can affect your costs. The design parameters of your safe room can have a tremendous effect on the price tag. Some of these things include:

  • Single-use Versus Multi-use: Whether you plan on using your storm room for single or multi-use purposes, this can have an effect on the price of construction. A simple design for a single-family safe room will be cheaper when compared to a multi-use community safe room.
  • Safe Room Design Wind Speed: Depending on the state you live in, the design wind speed of your custom safe room will impact the overall cost of the project.
  • Safe Room Foundation: The foundation of your residential or commercial safe room will also have an effect on its cost. If you’re interested in investing in a new in-ground safe room, it may cost more due to the required excavation. As we mentioned above, the most cost-effective way to design a safe room is to include it in new building plans and blueprints. The cost of retrofitting an existing building for a custom tornado shelter can be higher due to additional construction and design constraints.

FamilySAFE: Your Partner In Safe Room & Tornado Shelters

If you’re interested in investing in a safe room 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 tornado shelter installers. As the most experienced above-ground tornado 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 safe room, our custom storm room specialists can help. We install storm shelters all across the United States, but we started in the heart of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have custom storm shelter dealers across the country, and our professionals are eager to assist you. Learn more about our above ground storm shelters, new construction storm rooms, commercial tornado shelters, and more! Contact FamilySAFE Shelters today to get started with a free quote for your custom safe room or storm shelter.