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nealtw 03-04-2012 04:14 PM

Storm shelters
Again we see people being killed by storms, we always see where people are hudled in a bathroom while the roof is lifted off the house. There has to be cheap ways to give most homes a safe place to hide and I can't believe schools and shopping centers blown down. I know the building code trys to address this but really. How much does it cost to bolt down a shipping container in the parking lot? How many people could squeese into a 50 foot container, safe from flying debre?
I think we need a new forum dedicated to storm shelters.
Neal :confused:

paul52446m 03-04-2012 05:17 PM

That might come up with a lot of good reading and good ideas. There is really a need for storm shelters. I think it like a lot of other things, you think it will never happen to you.
I know i look at that big oak tree in my back yard and i wounder if my floor would stop it if i was in my basement. Paul

Dionysia 03-04-2012 05:34 PM

I often wonder why people don't still build the old-style storm cellars out in the yard. You can see them all over the place around here (NE Kansas) wherever there used to be an old house. The wooden doors are rotted off, but the cellar itself is usually sound, even after decades of neglect. They may not be glamorous, but they sure did work!

oldognewtrick 03-04-2012 05:59 PM

A lot of the new, custom homes we work on are being built with "safe" rooms. We had a bad storm come through here Friday nite and the tornado that was west of town lifted and went over the area where we live. Really makes you think when you are looking down the barrel of some really big winds. Thank goodness we didn't have the damage around here they did in some other states. Prayers for those who suffered loss of life and their homes.

nealtw 03-04-2012 09:30 PM

Oldog: Sounds like you had a close call. What do you have for a shelter? I would bet those old dug out shelters were root cellers and refridgeraters did away with that.
I want to here from people who can garrentee their families safety because they did A, B, or C and maybe we can get more people thinking that it is important.

JoeD 03-04-2012 10:00 PM

The old fashion storm cellars were probably actually root cellars used for storing the vegetables for winter use or winter ice for summer use. Now that we have modern refrigeration they are no longer needed for their original use.

oldognewtrick 03-05-2012 04:51 AM

Neal, we just have a full basement and we were about 30 seconds away from heading there. The Mrs. has been sick in bed with the flu and she said if she was going to the basement I'd have to carry we stayed upstairs and watched it on the TV.

mudmixer 03-05-2012 08:28 AM

Most tornado related deaths are from projectiles.

There is a FEMA design for a "Safe Cell" concept (many details and suggestions) over the past 20 years and is based on history and testing. Basically, it is a concrete or reinforced concrete block room with a NECESSARY concrete roof that can be built in a basement, used as a closet or bathroom or as a separate structure above or below grade. Wood is really inadequate unless the 3/4" plywood sheets (closely spaced studs) are laminated with steel plate to eliminate projectile penetration. The acceptance test is to prevent any penetration through the wall or roof by a 12' long 2x4 fired by an air canon at about 150 mph, so that explains why it took so long to come up with an unbuildable wood/steel system.


The standard is very good and give suggestions on on doors, door swing direction (into the safe cell), acceptable hardware (hinges, latches and number of each)and ventilation.

Most are built in basements or for a slab on grade home they become a multi-use room (closet, bath, gun storage, etc.). The are commonly built into new homes in tornado-prone areas. They are created to protect from tornado winds (up to 250) and much stronger than hurricane winds (125-135) once they a landed on shore.

Even a basement is not absolute protection from a tornado because of the extremely high winds. There were 2 children in the basement about 10 miles from here and they were sucked out through the walk-out end 50 feet away (one was drowned in a lake). If there was a safe cell, they would be alive today, but that is hind sight.

Tornadoes can occur in many places other than Kansas (Wizard of OZ) or Oklahoma as everyone has seen. Even in MN, we had the most tornadoes in the country 2010 (115). They are unpredictable, form quikly and are unbeleivable strom and not like hurricanes that are predictable, so a near by safe area

nealtw 03-05-2012 10:55 AM

Dick: I read those codes too and looked at the tests, there all great reads for people with the money to retofit the house. It looks like every new house should be built with concrete stairs to the basement or a rated door on the coldroom under the front concrete stairs. I bet those kids would have been safe in a knack tool box bolted to the floor.
I want suggestions for oldog to build for under $1000 that he could brag to his neigbours about and may be add to his business.

vette2020 03-06-2012 12:38 PM

I couldn't agree more. Especially with all the hurricanes the south east have faced within the past 7 years or so.

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