Tornadoes — what should you do when you need to seek shelter if you don’t have a basement or cellar.  People take safety precautions everyday.  When driving our cars we fasten our seatbelts, place our children in carseats and buckle them in; when riding motorcycles or bicycles we wear helmets, and we certainly wouldn’t want to experience a tornado without having a safe place to go.

 

Tornado Shelters

Many Northwestern Arkansas people are looking to buy storm shelters after recent tornado outbreaks.  In the video above KFSM news reports on one company that produces steel tornado shelters, welded together, and strong enough to survive an EF-5 tornado.  This manufacturer makes tornado shelters that can go inside, outside, underground, or above ground.  American Storm Shelters even had to bring in extra crews to work around the clock to keep up with orders after the recent deadly tornado outbreak.

One mobile home resident living in this Arkansas tornado alley area, explains in this news interview how he purchased one of these storm shelters this year so he would have a safe and secure place to take shelter during  a tornado.  His storm shelter is anchored down with 3,000 pounds of concrete.  As of the time of this report, the cost of the shelters start about $3,000 and go up to about $6,000 and this mobile home resident says the investment is definitely worth the price.  In Arkansas, and certain other states, you can apply for a rebate program if you install a storm shelter/safe room.

 

Above Ground Tornado Shelter Inside Your Home

Storm shelters designed to fit inside your home are seen in the above Northwest Arkansas news report. Local reporter, Heather Lewis, investigates how an above ground shelter installed in one family’s garage might actually be safer than underground storm shelters.

The family researched storm rooms when they moved to Northwestern Arkansas where tornadoes are common.  They chose a DuPont storm room which can be installed in almost any room in your home so you don’t have to go outside to enter the room during a storm.

This in-home storm room doesn’t look like an average storm shelter, yet it’s the only storm shelter room that FEMA has approved to withstand an EF-5 tornado.  The strength of the DuPont storm rooms with Kevlar has been tested by an independent lab and can deflect a 12-foot two-by-four shot out of a cannon at the same speed and force of an EF-5 tornado.

It typically takes workers one day to install the layered storm room.  The room meets FEMA standards and the walls are reinforced with Kevlar between the layers of wood, as well as a layer of foam to insulate against debris.  The door of the DuPont storm shelter opens inward so if debris is blocking the area outside the exit of the shelter the occupants will not be trapped. The DuPont Kevlar Storm Shelter is designed to allow cell phone signals to work from inside the shelter, as long as cell phone towers outside remain in working order.

Kevlar is an organic fiber discovered by DuPont scientists in 1965 and is five times stronger than steel.  It is interesting to note that there are a number of other applications for Kevlar such as use by law enforcement and military personnel in puncture resistant vests, helmets, and shields.  It is also used in tires, industrial settings, aircraft, and spacecraft.

DuPont storm rooms range in size from 4X4 up to 12X12 and at the time of this newscast the average costs range from $6,000 to $15,000 and they can also be used as a safe room.

 

Demonstration Test Of A Tornado Shelter

This demonstration video tests a DuPont Kevlar storm room showing how it is strong enough to withstand an EF-5 tornado.  A 2X4 beam is shot from a missile launcher at 100 mph simulating the speed and force of debris from a 250 mph tornado. The beam penetrates only the outer wood covering, but cannot penetrate the inner layer of Kevlar and foam insulation.

A dramatic comparison is seen when the same storm room test is conducted on an identical wall without the Kevlar reinforcement and the beam pierces through the wall almost as if it were made of paper.  At the end of the video the door, also reinforced with Kevlar, successfully holds up under the same testing.

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Filed under: Disaster Preparedness

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