Well, you're in the market for a storm shelter...congratulations! You are well on your way to peace of mind. But, you may overwhelmed by the different options available in the storm shelter industry. After all, you are purchasing a product that could potentially save your life one day so you want to make sure you make the right decision.
It’s important to note a quote from a brochure created by the National Weather Service, Huntsville, Alabama. “There’s no one authority to tell you what the best storm shelter is, nor can the federal government endorse a specific type of storm shelter as being ‘the best.’” There are many factors that will determine what type of tornado shelter is best for your home.
The two basic types of storm shelters are underground or above ground shelters. No one has ever been killed in an above ground or underground storm shelter that has been proven to be compliant with the guidelines set by FEMA. Determining what type of tornado shelter is best for you is primarily based on personal preference. In order to help you find the storm shelter that meets your specific needs here are some helpful tips:
Best storm shelter for accessibility:
Above ground safe rooms are the most optimal for accessibility. There are no steps to navigate therefore safe rooms can be easily accessed by those with mobility issues. Safe rooms with wheelchair accessible doors are available. They are perfect for those who are handicap and the elderly. If you are considering a long term solution, you may want to consider a safe room. As you age, or if something were to happen to hinder your mobility, you could always access your safe room easily.
Best storm shelter for convenience:
Any shelter that can be installed inside your home is going to be ideal for convenience. If you are building a new home, any room in your home can be reinforced and used as a safe room. Pre-manufactured safe rooms can be installed in the garage. Underground garage storm shelters can also be installed in new or existing homes. A below ground garage storm shelter also provides convenience without requiring the use of extra space in your garage. You can park your car directly over the shelter and will still be able to access the shelter. If you are not able to have a tornado shelter installed inside your home then an outdoor shelter installed as close to the home as possible is the best solution. Convenience is key when you have to seek shelter immediately.
Best storm shelter for longevity:
Steel storm shelters take the cake when it comes to longevity. Over time concrete will become brittle. As the ground settles the concrete will also crack which will result in leaks. Fiberglass shelters are prone to fiberglass rot over an extended period of time. Steel is strong and extremely durable. Rust is eliminated if the shelter is painted properly and all surfaces exposed to the soil or water are coated with an epoxy. If you are looking for a shelter that will last a lifetime, then a steel shelter is your best option.
Best storm shelter for safety:
As mentioned earlier in this article, “There’s no one authority to tell you what the best storm shelter is, nor can the federal government endorse a specific type of storm shelter as being ‘the best.’ To assess a shelters safety you want to make sure the shelter meets all of the standards set forth by FEMA as published in the FEMA P-320 document. Every storm shelter manufacturer designs their shelter differently and constructs the shelter of different materials. Each shelter should be assessed separately to insure safety. For instance, all steel shelters are not equally safe. There are steel shelters that are manufactured with varying degrees of metal thickness, different door designs with varying locking mechanisms and hinges, and different ventilation systems. Each component should be assessed to ensure the shelter is constructed according to the guidelines set by FEMA. It is also important to note that there is no governing agency which regulates to the storm shelter industry. The standards set by FEMA are considered to be “guidelines” and are therefore voluntary for manufactures to follow. The consumer is ultimately responsible for insuring the shelter they purchase is safe. (Most people do not realize the storm shelter industry is unregulated and tend to take most manufactures at the their word when they claim they are “FEMA approved”. FEMA does not “approve” any shelters. They only set “guidelines”.) The main components of a shelter that should be examined are the thickness of the material used to construct the body of the shelter, the door components, how the shelter is secured, and the ventilation system.
Rethink Storm Shelters specializes in steel storm shelters. We offer both above ground and below ground shelters that can be installed inside your home or outside in your yard. All of our shelters are designed to exceed FEMA standards. We have spent a great amount of time researching the best materials, construction designs, and installation procedures to insure our customers can have complete peace of mind when they seek refuge in a Rethink Storm Shelter. For more information regarding the specifications of each of our shelter models click the links below.