Residential Storm Shelters: Busting Myths and Establishing Anchors
Home can mean a lot of different things, but to many of us, it is a safe place where we take refuge from storms both figurative and literal. The places we call home may be equipped to see us through a figurative whirlwind, but in many cases, these structures are no match for the very real effects of a tornado or similar extreme weather event.
Today, more and more homeowners are purchasing and installing residential storm shelters to bridge the gap between feelings of safety at home and their physical security. When one considers taking the next step towards maximizing their security, it is important to be equipped with knowledge.
However, misinformation and common myths can make fruitful research challenging. To help combat confusion for those seeking peace of mind, RemainSafe will present and debunk prevalent misconceptions surrounding storm shelter safety.
Misconception # 1 – My house is my storm shelter.
A house is many things, but a storm shelter is not one of them. Your home may withstand a common thunderstorm or heavy rain, but severe storms exist in a different category. In the wake of high winds or a tornado, even a well-built house may not withstand the storm.
However, your RemainSafe storm shelter will still be standing. At RemainSafe, our storm shelters are built to meet high standards, set forth by the ICC 500, FEMA 320 and FEMA 361. These regulatory authorities routinely review and update guidelines, ensuring storm shelters continue to pass muster. Houses on the other hand are designed to provide comfort and basic shelter; they are not meant to withstand the same conditions as storm shelters. Houses are subject to very different regulations and are seldom inspected or updated to comply with changes in regulatory standards.
Misconception #2 – If a tornado can pick up a train car, can’t it also pick up my storm shelter?
It is true that tornadoes can lift train cars, but this cannot be replicated with storm shelters. A tornado does not “pick up” items, rather wind gets underneath objects with sufficient force and can lift them, causing them to become airborne. This is like the effect that allows airplanes to take flight. Our storm shelters are installed on top of concrete slabs, which they are then anchored to with 7 inch long, ¾ inch thick bolts. These bolts are paired with commercial epoxy and feature concrete-cutting threads; as they are installed, the epoxy and threads fuse the bolts into the concrete.
This process is so effective, removal of the unit is only possible by cutting through the heads of each bolt. Together, the concrete slab, secure anchorage and overall weight of the shelter (2,873 minimum pounds) ensure no wind gets under the unit to create lift. Tornadoes can also suck air in a certain direction, achieving lift through a vacuum effect. We combat this effect by integrating ventilation systems in all our units, effectively eliminating the ability for a vacuum to take hold. Tornadoes are incredibly strong but even they follow the laws of nature. Here at RemainSafe we understand the science behind tornadoes and construct our storm shelters, so physics works with us and not against us; this results in a stronger shelter and greater peace of mind for our customers
Misconception #3 – All storm shelters are the same, buy the most cost-effective one.
Like any other product you can buy for your home, there exists a range of options, and not all storm shelters are created equal. When it comes to storm shelters, cost and quality are more closely aligned than consumers may realize. Tornadoes can be life-altering events, and in their wake community demand can become frenzied. Buyers may seek to regain their peace of mind by buying a poor-quality shelter from an uncertified or poorly equipped source, but it is important to recognize that the investment one makes in a storm shelter is made to protect something priceless: the lives of you and your family. A high-quality storm shelter manufacturer like RemainSafe will provide documents certifying that their units meet regulatory standards and have undergone rigorous testing.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can invest in yourself and your family, contact a representative of RemainSafe today.
Learn more about our residential shelters here.