For a lot of people the fear of being trapped in a storm shelter is much greater than the fear of a tornado. A small space is not comfortable over a long period of time and for many it is simply unbearable.
One of the biggest concerns most people have concerning a garage storm shelter is the house collapsing on top of the storm shelter and debris preventing the door from opening.
Even a small tornado can cause significant damage to a house and scatter debris for miles.
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Can you get trapped inside a storm shelter? It is possible for debris to become wedged in the storm shelter door preventing it from opening. Anything can happen during a tornado. You should be as prepared as possible for every worst case scenario.
In order for debris to prevent a storm shelter from opening, the debris would have to be exactly the right size and it would have to be positioned perfectly. Although it is possible for the door to become wedged and unable to open, it would be very difficult for this to happen.
There are a couple of things you can do to ensure you do not become trapped inside your garage storm shelter because of debris and to minimize the time you would have to spend waiting on someone to rescue you if you did become trapped.
1. Park your vehicle directly over the storm shelter. If your house were to collapse, the vehicle would protect your storm shelter from any debris. The debris would fall on the car and around the storm shelter instead of directly on the shelter.
2. Have a hydraulic jack installed in your storm shelter. A hydraulic jack will lift up to 8 tons of debris. When the jack is fully extended it allows for a 24in-30in crawl space to exit the shelter. This is great for emergency situations.
3. Communicate with your neighbors, friends and family about where your storm shelter is located. If something tragic were to happen in your neighborhood it is very likely the first people to look for you will be your neighbors or family and friends. Make sure they know exactly where your storm shelter is located so they know where to start looking.
4. Register your storm shelter with the local authorities. In some cities and counties you can register your storm shelter with the local fire department or E911 service. We highly recommend that your take advantage of this service because this greatly minimizes recovery times for individuals. The first responders will know exactly where you are located according to GPS coordinates and can begin looking for you immediately. Call your local emergency management office to see what services are available in your area.
Don't let the fear of a storm shelter prevent you from seeking shelter from a tornado. Storm shelters save hundreds if not thousands of lives each year. Tornadoes are unpredictable and are becoming increasingly destructive but you can guarantee your safety and security with a storm shelter.
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