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underground storm shelter

The Best Time to Buy a Storm Shelter or Tornado Safe Room

When is the best time to buy an underground storm shelter or above ground tornado safe room?  Does it even matter?

tornado safe roomWhen the weather is nice out, the kids are out of school, there are activities to do and you think for the time being you’ve dodged the bullet; “storm season” so-to-speak is months away and you believe you’ve plenty of time to think about preparing for the next storm season or buying a storm shelter or tornado safe room

…But guess what: that’s what everyone else who didn’t get their storm shelter ordered yet is thinking as well!

That’s fine and all until the next severe weather siren goes off and everyone rushes to the phone, all wanting to order their storm shelter or tornado safe room now!

Here’s the problem with that situation:

Unfortunately, a storm shelter is not a hamburger; it’s not something you can put together and have ready within a few minutes or hours…  

Storm shelters and tornado safe rooms are big, heavy units that require precision in their build to ensure they conform to FEMA requirements and that they’ll withstand an EF-5 tornado.  In order to produce such a unit, a large factory with heavy machinery and skilled workers is required and only so many units can be produced at one time, given the amount of materials, space, labor and cost involved (among other things).

Understanding Production of Storm Shelters & Tornado Safe Rooms

Because demand relies quite a bit on the severity of the weather and previous storms, there are times of year that are typically slower (when the factory can produce more units than are requested) and then other times of year when it’s the reverse, where demand exceeds the production ability of the factory (like this last March and April, in particular).  Like any business subject to such huge swings in demand, it’s difficult to know when demand is going to spike and how many workers you’re going to need or have to lay off.

Ideally, you’d keep a well-trained, experienced production crew on the payroll all year round, but with the huge swings in demand, it can be virtually impossible as for part of the year you’d have to pay them to do nothing (because you don’t need to produce as many units) which of course no business can afford to do.  But on the contrary, if you only have a crew that can handle the slower times of the year, you get really backed up as you can’t get product out fast enough and your workers are on the clock 16 hours a day (which creates other problems, not to mention the additional stress on the machinery and other systems).  So in order to cope, you end up having to bring on more people to handle the demand spikes, but trying to find people who are qualified and experienced for that kind of work and willing and able to work at that time (ie, not employed somewhere else) when a storm suddenly hits a month early, for example, can cause months of delays…

So it’s a little bit tricky and not an exact science.  The spiked demand for orders might last a few days from one close call, or maybe a supercell hits and orders last for weeks or a month.  Or even worse, multiple supercells hit in different parts of the country all around the same period of time and EVERYONE it seems wants a storm shelter or tornado safe room all at the same time, making it hard to just answer the phone, let alone produce storm shelters.

As you can imagine, those times of year are the periods of time you want to avoid.  Now, if you’re just not able to get your storm shelter or safe room ordered until that period, just be prepared for potentially long days without any real idea of exactly when your storm shelter or tornado safe room will get to you.  As just mentioned, sometimes these demand peaks don’t last too long and production is able to catch up quickly.  But if you can at all avoid it, you should!

So when exactly are the best times to order a underground storm shelter or tornado safe room?

storm shelter

Just like in the investing world, when everyone jumps on and wants to buy something, you probably should have already bought.  And it’s the same with buying your storm shelter – you want to do the opposite of the masses.

So instead of waiting until the last minute to place your order, do your research now, plan your finances out now or contact us if you need financing, but you want to order your storm shelter or tornado safe room when everyone else isn’t – before the storms threaten!

In other words, when you’re NOT thinking about severe weather or thunder storms, that’s a good time to order your tornado shelter or safe room.  Why? Because you’ll be able to get your underground storm shelter or above ground tornado safe room within a matter of days or weeks as opposed to possibly months…  This way you’re prepared for the typically worst part of the storm season when it arrives, giving you peace of mind and security, instead of fear, worry and uncertainty.

The best times of year to buy your underground storm shelter or above ground tornado safe room is June through October and December through January or so.  This is typically the best time of year, however, should a big storm develop and cause damage during one of these months, it of course no longer applies because demand will shoot through the roof.  Right after storm season, we may still be catching up orders from the demand spike but the months mentioned above are a good rule of thumb.

To conclude, the best time to get a tornado shelter or safe room is as soon as you possibly can.  This is not hype, it’s simply a fact that severe storms like a Huntsville tornado can take place at any time of year, not just in April or November like many people have become accustomed to.  However, if you have to wait and want to know the best time of year to buy your unit, purchase before the peak so you don’t get caught up in the production nightmare that can occur when everyone wants their units at the same time.

The truth is you never know exactly when a tornado will strike, which is why you don’t want to put off ordering your storm shelter or tornado safe room – even when the weather out is pleasant!  Make sure your family is safe and has peace of mind BEFORE the next outbreak of severe weather hits…

– Hans Schoff

PS> Did you get your free [email protected] subscription yet?  Just fill out the form on the right of this page for your custom, reliable weather alert service (specific to your home, not your whole county) so you know when it’s necessary to use your storm shelter or tornado safe room.  Don’t be caught off guard!

How to Select a Storm Shelter or Tornado Safe Room

Red Neck Storm Shelter

One example of short cuts people try to take. It may work... but is it worth the risk? What if it doesn't...

Which is better?  An underground storm shelter?  Or an above-ground tornado safe room?

You’ve seen the destruction that tornadoes and severe weather can wreak on homes, businesses and entire communities and you know you need better protection from these devastating storms.  By now hopefully you’ve also realized that not all storm shelters or tornado safe rooms are created equal.  While having some sort of storm shelter or safe room is better than no safe room or tornado shelter, to ensure your family’s safety and survival through even the most dangerous of storms, you need to choose wisely.

concrete shelterMost people are familiar with the old type of metal or concrete storm shelter that years down the road now more closely resembles a dungeon than a safe place to ride out severe weather.  These older units, while again better than nothing, in most cases were simply not designed or tested to withstand the impact of a strong storm, like a Huntsville tornado.

One of the most serious issues is usually the door.  With the high winds and blowing debris, you want to make sure your storm shelter or tornado safe room door is impact-tested to withstand both the wind trying to pull it off it’s hinges (requiring a substantial hinge and 3-point locking system) as well as impact from debris traveling at 250mph (like a 2×4 or tree branch), simulating the worst of storms, an EF-5 tornado.

This area is where most storm shelters fail.  A regular wood or even metal framed door is not designed to withstand the impact of such objects at anywhere near those kinds of speeds.  If the door were to fail or worse get sucked off, you may be subject to imminent injury or worse death.  Needless to say, you need to make sure your storm shelter or safe room door is strong, secure and specifically tested to withstand impact from an EF-5 tornado, the strongest of tornadoes.  (The premier tornado testing facility is at the Texas Tech University Wind Science Center)

The question I’m asked the most is whether or not an above-ground safe room can actually be as safe as an underground storm shelter.  To answer that question quickly, simply watch this short video below:

So this begs the question, if an above-ground impact-tested tornado safe room can be as safe as an underground impact-tested storm shelter, how do you decide which to choose?

The answer is quite simple; it really is a matter of personal preference and space.

If you have a 2 or 3-car garage – or even a 1-car garage that you don’t use to park your car in and have the space for a 4×6, 4×4, 4×8 or other sized tornado safe room, then that may be an option for you.  Conversly, if you do not have any available space for even a 3 1/2 foot x 4 foot safe room in your garage or on a back patio or something, then an underground storm shelter may be the best option for you.

If you have the space in your garage for a tornado safe room, the benefits are:Tornado Safe Room

  • You can enter from your house without having to get wet or subjected to the outside elements (assuming your garage is attached to your home and has a garage door)
  • You can also use a safe room to store valuables like guns, jewelry, important documents, etc as you would use a safe (you may want to consider installing a deluxe model safe room for this purpose if you’d like a little thicker walls and three heavy-duty Medeco deadbolts to make it that much harder to break into)
  • Easy access in and out for those who may be wheelchair-bound or have difficulty going up and down stairs
  • The All Weather Safe Room can just as easily be uninstalled as it is installed if you decide to move and want to take your tornado safe room with you
  • Each of the All Weather Safe Rooms comes standard at 80 inches high, giving you plenty of head space, again making it very easy to enter and exit
  • All Weather Safe Rooms also have vertical doors that open inward in case a strong storm hits and causes part or all of your garage to collapse around you (which, being surrounded by your garage is likely to happen) so that you’re able to easily climb out after the storm
  • The ability to choose a custom size (down to the inch) and door location for safe room, for as few as 3 adults to as many as 100 (10×50 foot safe room, ie, our community safe room) as the All Weather Safe Rooms are custom built for each customer

 In contrast, an underground storm shelter like “The Refuge” storm shelter or Lifesaver Storm Shelter may be better suited for your needs if:Lifesaver storm sheltersRefuge storm shelter

  • You do not have a suitable location for an above-ground storm shelter
  • You “feel” safer being underground that above-ground.
  • You’d like a more economical option to give you more space for your dollar.  An underground storm shelter is likely to give you more space as metal is more expensive than fiberglass, saving you as much as $1,000 depending on which storm shelter you choose
  • You prefer to be outside in the open to decrease your chances of the building around you collapsing on top of you
  • You have neighbors or family who you also want to easily be able to get into your storm shelter
  • You want to protect up to 20 adults in one location, underground

In conclusion, any way you look at it, a tested, quality underground storm shelter is just as safe as an above-ground storm shelter (assuming you’re dealing with a reputable company with quality products that have been specifically engineered, designed and tested for use as tornado protection); the question you have to decide is which factors are most important to me and which one do I prefer?

If you’re still unsure though and would like to discuss your situation with us further to review other concerns or specific issues your house or yard may contain, just give us a call or send us an email anytime by calling (256) 258-WIND (9463) or click on the CONTACT US tab at the top of the page.  Hopefully this article has helped you figure out which option may be best for you and your family.

Please comment below and let us know your thoughts, your determining factors, etc and also be sure to share this article with anyone else you feel may benefit from it, via facebook, twitter or other means as well.

 

Installing an Underground LS-6 Lifesaver Storm Shelter

storm shelter

As you’re likely aware from our Lifesaver Storm Shelter Models & Benefits page, we offer a wide range of both underground storm shelters and above-ground safe rooms, from our smallest 4-adult storm shelter to our largest tornado safe rooms that protect up to 100 people (10 x 50 foot tornado safe room).  I wanted to put together a quick post to show some of the differences between the smaller Lifesaver storm shelter models (vs the bigger LS-8, LS-10, LS-12 or LS-20 models) in how they are installed to address a few questions that people have had about they are installed.

On the Lifesaver Storm Shelters Models & Benefits page, you’ll see an unedited storm shelter install video shot of us installing an LS-12 storm shelter, from digging the hole, to pouring the concrete pad underneath the shelter, to strapping down and back-filling it to complete the storm shelter install.

Since we haven’t yet filmed one of the smaller units (LS-4 or LS-6) being installed – and since they have a slightly different install process due to their smaller volume, size and shape and therefore differing buoyancy factors – I wanted to go through the process of installing an LS-6 Lifesaver shelter and show some pictures to help you better understand the process for those interested.

tornado shelter install

LS-6 Storm Shelter Install Process

The first step is for the customer to call their call-before-you-dig number (in Alabama it’s usually 8-1-1).  They will then come out at no cost to mark where underground utilities, etc are in proximity to the location of the storm shelter so that there are no surprises when we start digging the hole. 😉

Then we begin digging the hole, approximately 10 feet by 12 feet (depending on the location) some 6 feet deep.  We shoot grade to make sure the bottom of the hole is the right depth and prepare the tornado shelter to be lowered into the hole (bigger models require bigger, deeper holes).

The Main LS-4 & LS-6 Lifesaver Storm Shelter Install Differences

storm shelter install
storm shelter installFor the LS-4 and LS-6 underground tornado shelter models, this means threading 9-foot long, 2-inch steel pipes through the bottom of the tornado shelters as you can see in the photos.  This is part of the anchoring system which is engineering and designed to have 2 fiberglass panels on either side of the shelter sitting on top of the steel pipes to help anchor and keep the shelter in it’s installed location (so it doesn’t float up or move around).

The larger Lifesaver storm shelters (LS-8 and above) require a heavier anchoring system which is why we use an 8-inch thick concrete pad underneath the shelter or preformed 2000 and 3000 lb concrete blocks with straps or chains as their buoyancy factor is greater.  That concrete would be overkill and unnecessary for the smaller LS-4 and LS-6 Lifesaver storm shelters however and would also unnecessarily increase the cost for the customer.

storm shelter install

So once the fiberglass panels are in properly, the tornado shelter is level and correctly in place, we backfill the dirt into the hole to bury the underground storm shelter, leaving the dirt around it a few inches high in order to compensate for some of the dirt that will settle (it will take a few rains to really compact and settle the dirt; the shelter does not settle or move, only some of the dirt on top).

Lifesaver Storm Shelters Lifetime Warranty

Lifesaver storm shelterTo ensure each Lifesaver storm shelter is properly installed so we can issue a lifetime warranty on the storm shelter, we include installation in the prices we quote for our tornado shelters, like our LS-4 model (4 adults) which for purchase and normal install is $3500.  The LS-6 as pictured in this post for a normal install is $4500.  If you have any other requirements, like hauling off dirt, removing trees or shrubs or anything else, feel free to give us a call at 256-258-WIND and we’re more than happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information.

Also be sure to visit our facebook page for the latest news and information at http://www.facebook.com/HuntsvilleTornadoShelters

 

Top Story @10 on WAFF 48 – Dekalb County Lifesaver Underground Storm Shelters

Lifesaver Underground Storm Shelters – Install for Gary Heymon Featured on WAFF 48 Newscast

storm shelters

Click the image above for the full article

About an hour ago we got an ecstatic call from a customer, whose storm shelter we just installed a few weeks back, who wanted to let us know they were going to be on TV tonight.

A Huntsville channel 48 WAFF newscrew came out and interviewed them and took some photos and video of the completed install and shortly thereafter the Alabama EMA as well.
Ever since the Huntsville tornado storms tore through Northern Alabama in April 27 2011 creating record-breaking amounts of damage, there’s been a governmental effort to assist some of those worst hit.  FEMA stepped in once the state of Alabama was declared a disaster area and has promised funds to install storm shelters that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to ensure people have safe shelter in the event of the next potential severe storm.  The cutoff to apply for such funds passed months ago and now some of the FEMA money is beginning to show up.

Underground Storm Shelters & Safe Rooms Funding Starting To Come Through For Some Counties

Dekalb county of Alabama was one of the first counties to begin receiving this FEMA money and aid.  Just a few weeks ago, Lifesaver Storm Shelters of North Alabama participated in helping a home owner who qualified for the FEMA money to complete their paperwork to ensure they would get their partial reimbursement monies from FEMA after having installed their underground Lifesaver Storm Shelter (or safe room as FEMA refers to them as).
So far 180 safe room applications have been approved by FEMA for the state of Alabama, and our understanding is that due to the extensive damage in Dekalb county that a good majority of the funds would first be distributed there.  We also understand that Franklin county is also now receiving FEMA money for it’s residents to compensate them (up to 75% or $4,000) towards any storm shelter or safe room installed that meets FEMA requirements as well.
You can learn more via that WAFF 48 newscast featuring Gary Heymon and his recently purchased and installed LS-12 underground Lifesaver Storm Shelter by clicking on the following link (or hit play below to watch the newscast): http://www.waff.com/story/16105346/fema-approves-180-safe-rooms-in-alabama
For the lastest news and information, as well as important safety and severe weather tips, visit (and “LIKE”) us on facebook by clicking here now.
Hans Schoff
Lifesaver Storm Shelters of North Alabama


PS> Have you signed up for your WeatherCall @Home, the address-specific, storm-specific FREE service that will actually CALL, TEXT and EMAIL if severe weather is headed to your home?  What are you waiting for – ’tis the season!  Sign up here now

Lifesaver Storm Shelter – with Cable TV?

With a Lifesaver Storm Shelter, you can not only protect you and your family in the event of a Huntsville tornado or severe weather but you can take shelter from the storm in style!  Take a look at the inside of one of our 12-person shelters as installed for one of our Lifesaver storm shelters of North Alabama customers below.

Lifesaver storm shelter Customizations

underground storm shelter, with tv

There is an endless number of customizations you can have with our underground shelters, from wiring it with TV and cable as our customer here did, to pouring a concrete patio around it, planting shrubs or sod, or even painting it your favorite color (or turning it into the ultimate collegiate banner – I’m talking to you SEC football fans!).

Just imagine the look on your neighbors’/friends’ faces when they come over to find a massive 5-foot by 3-foot crimson Alabama banner or orange Auburn banner (your painted shelter lid) prominently displaying your passion and joy?  Your shelter doesn’t have to stay green – use your imagination!  The possibilities for customizing your underground tornado shelter are endless.

lifesaver storm shelter, with tv

We want to smash the notion that underground storm shelters, tornado shelters, or safe rooms have to be scary, damp, undesirable places.  After all, you shouldn’t have to think twice about actually USING your storm shelter – kind of defeats the purpose, right?

We’re confident that should you decide to choose an underground shelter from us at Huntsville Tornado Shelters .com and Lifesaver storm shelters of North Alabama, that you’ll be so happy and satisfied with your investment that you’ll not only not hesitate to use it when necessary but that you’ll be sharing with your friends and family about it.

Experience the quality and superiority of our underground storm shelters yourself with no obligation.  Just fill out the form on the right of this page and we’ll happily bring one of our Lifesaver Storm Shelters to your home or business for you to touch, smell and feel the difference.

Got Any Other Lifesaver storm shelter Customization Ideas?

So how would you like to to customize your Lifesaver Storm shelter?  At Huntsville Tornado Shelters .com, we take pride in helping to keep you safe by providing you with the best protection from severe weather possible (like a Huntsville tornado), at a price that’s affordable, and in the way you want it.  If you’ve got some creative ideas or suggestions, just jot them down in the comments section below, we’d love to hear what you think!

And by all means, please share this post with others so they too can see what is possible today with a Lifesaver underground storm shelter from Huntsville Tornado Shelters .com!

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