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How Storm Shelters Save Lives

Each year, over 10,000 people die due to storms in the United States alone. Countless families have been ripped apart – all from a preventable tragedy.

The greatest threat posed by violent storms is their unpredictability. Tornadoes can form unexpectedly and travel hundreds of miles an hour. The only weapon against these storms is to prepare well.

Fortunately there are solutions, the most critical of which being storm shelters. Protect the people you love and those you are responsible for by providing them a physical refuge when nothing else will help.

Why Severe Storms Should Not Be Taken Lightly

It’s easy to underestimate the frequency of fatal storms. Many assume that outside of hurricanes and tornadoes, storms do not have the potential to grow beyond a few hours of heavy rain and thunder.

In fact, 10% of common thunderstorms develop into severe storms, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory. Severe storms are classified as having wind speeds over 60 mph. This is enough to uproot trees, cause severe structural damage to homes and buildings, and easily kill people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The risk is especially high for those living in the Southeastern United States. The 2019 hurricane season saw 18 named storms, six developing into hurricanes. Three of these were at least Category 3, reaching maximum sustained wind speeds of 111 mph or higher.

With the risk so high and the penalties so severe, is it wise to roll the dice? Residential tornado shelters are an investment that removes this risk and protects those that matter.

Why Storm Shelters Are Irreplaceable

The unpredictability of severe weather is why the options to guard against it are limited. One cannot simply escape or reliably put themselves far from harm’s way. When the worst arrives, people must have access to immediate protective shelter.

Well constructed residential tornado shelters built according to FEMA P-361 standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can resist wind speeds of 250 mph and 3,000 pounds of force. That’s enough to resist the sustained wind speeds of any category of hurricane. Only the incredibly rare F5 category of tornado, having occurred only 59 times in the last 70 years, can pose a serious risk.

Basements are no replacement for storm shelters. Even moderate tornadoes have resulted in the total collapse of basement walls onto those inside.

What Is The Cost Of Installing A Safe Room?

Saving the lives of those you care about is worth any price. Fortunately, storm shelters can be installed for less than the average price of a used car.

For homes, FEMA P-361 grade residential tornado shelters can be installed for $5000. These would be about 20-square-foot in area, providing a safe private space with a maximum capacity of six people.

For businesses, a FEMA P-361 grade storm shelter would cost around $8500. At 70-square-feet, this size holds a maximum capacity of 15 people. A distinction is made between the private and business capacity of a shelter. A 70-square-foot safe room can actually safely hold 20 people, although they would much closer to each other.

In the case that a FEMA P-361 grade storm shelter absolutely cannot be afforded, shelters that are cheaper can still be effective. Remember, almost any safe room will provide more protection than a basement alone. Take into account the region you are located in and the weather conditions.

Small, 10-square-foot residential tornado shelters can be installed for just $3000. These may pose a risk in high wind speeds that cause debris and collapsed walls. However, they should provide sufficient protection against most severe storms.

Major factors that influence the cost of safe rooms are:

  • Size
  • Materials (Concrete, wood, insulated concrete form, combination)
  • Built into a new home vs Retrofitted to an existing one
  • Site-built vs Prefabricated

The Risk Is Worth The Cost

Thousands of Americans lose their lives to severe storms each year. Such a tragedy that a large number of these deaths could have been prevented with adequate shelter. Secure the safety of those you care about and prepare a shelter ahead of time. Most don’t expect to become a victim until it suddenly happens.