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Atlas Safe Rooms Blog

The Best Place for Your Tornado Shelter

Posted by Emily Dunavent on Jul 7, 2016 8:24:23 AM

You’ve made the decision. You want to keep your family safe with an above ground storm shelter. But do you know where you’re going to put it? Chances are you haven’t thought about it, or you just assume that it will fit on the patio in the backyard.

A storm shelter is a big investment and when the storm comes you want to know it is safe and secure.

There isn’t a one size fits all formula for where your shelter has to go, but there are a few things you need to consider, like the accessibility and the foundation before installation.

Accessibility

FEMA doesn’t offer any specific guidelines for accessibility. Each individual’s situation is different and requires you look at what your house and property offer you in the way of getting to your shelter as safely and quickly as possible.

Find the area in your home that you can get to the easiest and quickest. For most people this is the garage. But a patio or closet, provided it’s on a concrete foundation, can work just as well. However, if your shelter is outside your home, be mindful of possible hazards such as flying debris and falling trees. The weather forecasters are faster and more accurate than ever, but the weather can still change in an instant. If it does happen quickly, can you get to your shelter safely?

Once you’ve found your ideal place, you have to be willing to give up space to keep the area clear of clutter. You don’t want to trip over the box of Christmas decorations or the lawnmower or have to remove the golf clubs from the entrance of the shelter when the sirens go off.

Not only do you want your shelter to keep you safe, but you want to be able to get out when the storm is over. Our shelters can easily be disassembled from the inside as well, for extra peace of mind in knowing that you can get out when the storm is over.

Concrete

What you put your storm shelter on is more important than anything else. You can’t put it on the dirt and it can’t be off the ground on a raised floor. Your only option is to secure the shelter to a concrete slab. And not just any concrete slab. According to FEMA guidelines, a steel reinforced slab, at least 3.5 inches thick.  

But it doesn’t just sit on top of the concrete either. The concrete is drilled through and anchored so that the shelter—and you and your family—stay put and safe. FEMA’s Foundation and Anchoring Criteria for Safe Rooms Fact Sheet provides specific information about how your shelter must be anchored and recommends it be done by a certified professional.

Talk to the Experts

Of course, disasters are partly disastrous because you can’t fully prepare for them. You can inspect your surroundings and take an assessment of speed, but there’s always something you hadn’t thought of that poses a danger.

And usually a pre-existing concrete foundation, garage or a patio meets FEMA guidelines, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be ideal.

Installing  a storm shelter is an investment. Not only does it cost money, but it’s your family’s safety at stake. Don’t risk wrong assumptions. Take the guesswork out of it and let us help you find that perfect place for your investment. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our safe room experts.

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