Once you have made a decision to invest in a storm shelter, you have choices: building the shelter into the home during construction; an underground shelter in the yard or under a garage; and a modular storm shelter. Many homeowners from Oklahoma through Texas and into Missouri opt for modular storm shelters for six reasons.
Storm Shelter Location
The water table beneath your home has a lot to do with placement of a storm shelter. For many homeowners, underground shelters are not feasible, so modular storm shelters installed inside homes are the best option. Located on the lowest floor and anchored to the foundation, modular storm shelters can withstand not just the winds of a tornado, but the lethal wind-borne debris.
While Missouri's State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) recommends sheltering in a basement, remember that a basement partially above-ground is unlikely to be tornado-safe. The foundation walls are probably not reinforced for lateral (sideways) movement, so a 200-mph wind can topple them. With the basement partially above-ground, a direct exit to the outside is common. This also means that exit is an entrance for the winds and debris.
Because too many people rely on existing structure (basement, bathroom, closet), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that homes and small businesses build in safe rooms, and acknowledges the challenges of building these storm shelters in existing structures. One solution is the modular storm shelter, which enters the structure in pieces and is assembled to form a nearly impenetrable, single unit with multiple emergency exits.
Modular storm shelters help you avoid the high costs of new construction. You do not have to add to an existing home, excavate your yard or beneath your garage, or tear apart your home to get a storm shelter inside.
Get In, Get Down, Cover Up
Modular storm shelters readily answer the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management’s guidelines to get in, get down and cover up. You and up to 13 other people (do not forget your pets!) can get into a modular shelter in seconds.
By locating the modular storm shelter as low in your property as possible, you protect yourself from the strongest effects of the wind. The shelter protects you from falling materials and flying debris.
Above or Below?
If you have heard underground shelters are the safest location against a tornado, this is a common myth. Reality is above ground storm shelters can be just as safe if contructed properly. Underground storm shelters require an ideal environment for them to be a safe option for homeowners.
If your property:
- Has a high water table, the shelter can float
- Endures freezing in winter, the shelter can be compressed, strained and uplifted (Google search Moore, OK Case Studies)
- Has especially rocky soil or bedrock, the excavation may be too costly
Inside or Outside?
Homeowners generally are safer entering storm shelters from inside their own homes. You gain valuable time by going straight from in-home activities into your storm shelter’s safe haven.
Having a modular storm shelter inside your home (whether in a garage, basement, closet or spare room) also allows you to keep the shelter clean and stocked, and no unexpected insect or animal pests will set up residence, which is all too common in the detached storm shelter.
A huge advantage to a modular storm shelter assembled inside your home is security. When seconds count, you do not have time to locate a key to get into an outside shelter. Your modular shelter can be always open, always ready, and always the safest place in your home.