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(Originally published March 5, 2019)
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – After the devastation in Lee County, personal storm shelter installation has seen a spike and folks in the Tennessee Valley are looking to better prepare themselves in the event of another disaster.
Personal storm shelters range in size and price, but their results are pretty consistent. The reliable and sturdy design helps folks stay safe and feel comfortable.
Lifesaver Storm Shelters of North Alabama have been offering personal shelters in the area since 2007. Each shelter is designed to withstand an EF5 tornado. Hans Schoff works for huntsvilletornadoshelters.com and explains the process in the video below…
Since we first introduced our All Weather Safe Roomtornado safe room line, we’ve had a great response from people who wanted a way to keep their family safe, yet not have to go outside and climb down steps. Our All Weather Safe Room line with units from 3’x5′ to 10’x50′ has been able to do just that for many families. These tornado safe rooms have been tested by the premiere impact testing facility in the industry – Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Center – in order to ensure they can stand up to the force and impact of debris in an EF-5 tornado.
Every model also meets or exceeds FEMA guidelines so you know you’ve got a quality product that’s safe and also offers a 15 year warranty. The units are customizable as they are all custom built to suit, depending on the size you require and we also now offer benches with storage bins underneath (optional accessory) and we also can build safe rooms to be placed outside (like our community safe rooms, for example).
Putting the finishing touches on a new community safe room
The All Weather Safe Rooms of course have been designed to protect against damaging severe weather like a Huntsville tornado, but can also be used as a panic room (in case your home were to get broken into and you needed somewhere safe to go until the police showed up), a bunker (in case of social unrest or some other unexpected event where you might need protection), or a safe (somewhere you can keep your valuables, like guns, ammo, precious metals, jewelry, important documents, etc).
There are two different models you can choose from, once you have determined your size requirements, and that’s either standard (3/16 inch thick walls and ceiling with a 1/4 inch thick door) or deluxe (1/4 inch thick walls, door and ceiling). Now both models will protect against an EF-5 tornado, but if you’d like it to be that much stronger, maybe to repel a bigger caliber bullet for example, if you’re concerned about that or just to have that added level of security just in case, a deluxe model will cost an additional $1,000, since security is really important for our homes, and that’s why the use of fire and security systems can be really helpful for different kind of emergencies.
So what do you do if you just don’t have space for a 4×4 tornado safe room in your garage?
Suppose you want the protection of a safe room but don’t want to have leave one of your cars outside the garage. What can you do then?
We have just introduced our newest and least expensive All Weather Safe Room measuring 3 feet by 5 feet with our standard 80 inch height. You can get this 3×5 tornado safe room installed in your garage from $3795, depending on your location which is an extremely affordable price for any kind of storm shelter or tornado safe room. You can also read this saferacks review to see if it fits into your garage. It has nearly the same amount of square footage meaning (just 1 square foot less) yet it’s over $200 cheaper and gives you an additional foot of width or length in your garage so you don’t have to park your car in the driveway. Get More Info here to make sure your garage door is secure and repaired for safety purposes. Luckily, we now have a solution for you!
When 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 tornadosafe 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?
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 WeatherCall@Home 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!
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.
Most 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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
For 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.
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).
On Dec 1, 2011 the creators and manufacturers of the All Weather Safe Room decided to donate a tornado safe room to a young couple in Madison, Alabama after their home was completely demolished during the April 27, 2011 Huntsville tornado. All that remained of their property was a make-shift tornado safe room they had created out of cinder-block – luckily for their sake, it held up, if only barely…
Flash.org and CNN got wind of the story and decided to bring out their camera crews to also record this wonderful event. We also were able to capture some great footage of the entire install process from unloading the tornado safe room off the trailer to locating it in place and installing it in Kevin’s garage, which you can view below.
As you’ll hear in another video regarding these All Weather Safe Rooms, the installation process is such that you can actually install the tornado shelter in your garage and should you decide to move, you can actually just call us up and we can reinstall your tornado safe room if you like to take the safe room with you to your next house. Or, you can leave it in place and add approximately $10,000 to the value of your home as in the case of the tornado safe room as configured in the video below.
Once installed, the All Weather Safe Room can not only protect you as a tornado safe room from severe weather as mentioned, but it can also double as a safe (to store valuables like guns, ammunition, precious metals, coins, and other valuables) as well as a panic room in case of burglarly. (We can also custom build safe rooms to guard against fire and larger bullets, if desired).
Watch the video below which shows the complete installation process for our All Weather Safe Room, the premiere tornado safe room:
At the beginning of December, CNN showed up to film the install of one of our All Weather Safe Rooms – an above-ground 1/4-inch thick metal tornado safe room – for the Harrisons, who’s home was completely destroyed by the tragic storms of April 2011. The only thing left of their house was the safe room that saved their life, as you’ll see in the video below. Due to the compelling nature and circumstances for this young family, All Weather Safe Rooms in partnership with their local Norther Alabama dealer Lifesaver Storm Shelters of North Alabama decided to donate a 4×6 metal tornado safe room, installed and bolted inside the garage of their new house to ensure they’ll be safe in case another storm were to come their way in the future.
Kevin and Adrian are grateful they had a tornado safe room in the garage of their old house for as scary as it was to go through such a devastating storm – with two very young children no less – they survived and live to tell the story to make sure others know of the importance of having a safe place to go when severe weather strikes, as they now do with their new tornado safe room.
Regardless if you’re young or old, the color of your skin, your financial or employment status, a Huntsville tornado can strike anyone here in the Tennessee valley and surrounding areas and it’s important for the safety of your family that you have a safe, secure place to go when the time comes.
What’s great about a tornado safe room is not only will it protect you and provide you shelter from the storm, but it also can be a panic room as well as a safe. With all the burglaries around town lately, a tornado safe room could serve as your personal panic room where you could enter and simply deadbolt the three deadbolt locks behind you to ensure you and your valuable are safe and give you a safe place and time to contact the local law enforcement. The All Weather Safe Rooms can also protect against fire and bullets as well, again a perfect place to secure your title deeds, insurance paperwork, savings, jewelry or precious metals, guns, ammunition, computer backup files, and other important paperwork and belongings. One place for everything (and you can also lock it from the outside when leaving the house or going out of town in case you want to protect such items when you’re not at home.
Another way you can help ensure your safety is to subscribe to our free WeatherCall @Home service by simply entering your details in the form on the right of this page. WeatherCall @Home will alert you when severe weather is approaching your exact home or business (whatever address you give it) with a phone call, text message and email message to make sure you get the notice you need when you need it if your family or business’ safety is at risk.
Watch the different videos below from a few of the networks covering the All Weather tornado Safe Room install we completed at the beginning of December below:
With as great a product as the underground Lifesaver storm shelter is, why would we now be promoting another storm shelter/safe room product?
First of all, if you’re searching for a product that can keep you safe from severe weather underground, the Lifesaver Storm Shelter is exactly the underground shelter you’re looking for. It exceeds all FEMA guidelines and has a lifetime warranty so you know it’s safe; it’s comfortable and clean on the inside thanks to it’s fiberglass build and brilliant-white epoxy gel coating; it’s flat and doesn’t stick out in your yard like a sore thumb like some other storm shelters; it’s easy to open, get in and secure and it’s also very affordable, starting at $3,500 for our LS-4 Lifesaver storm shelter INSTALLED!
But what if you’d prefer to be in a storm shelter above ground? What if you have some extra space in your garage suitable for a sturdy, solid, steel tornado safe room?
What if you have difficulty moving around or have a wheelchair, walker or cain that you rely on?
What if in addition to providing protection and shelter from the storm for you and your family (from a Huntsville tornado or a Tennessee tornado for example), you’d also like to store your valuables and important possessions?
What if you’d like the option to have protection from fire, theft or even bullets?
You see, an above ground safe room is like a big safe AND a storm shelter all in one. For the majority of the time you can store your guns, weapons, precious metals, jewelry, family heirlooms, important documents and computer data, etc to protect them from burglers, bullets and fire. However, when severe weather approaches and your WeatherCall@Home custom alert service notifies you that a storm is headed directly toward your home, YOU can also take shelter from the storm in your safe room (enter your information into the form on the top right of this page to get WeatherCall@Home for FREE as a visitor to our website).
This tornado safe room can be installed as a hidden room as well (for new construction homes) where most people will not even know about it, hidden behind a fake wall or door. Most installations however are done after the home has been completed (requires a slab foundation for anchoring the tornado safe room to your foundation and enough access to place the safe room in it’s place to be installed). For this reason, we install most safe rooms in the garage or even on the back concrete porch if there’s too little room in the garage (safe rooms start at 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet tall – visit our tornado safe room page for full details).
Some of our customers who desire extra protection and peace of mind have chosen to even install both an underground shelter with one of our All Weather tornado safe rooms over the entrances to their underground storm shelters. Now, as far as protection from severe weather like tornadoes, this is overkill. One or the other would protect you from a storm. But if you wanted the additional space underground and the advantage of being protected from bullets and fire and having a place to store your valuables, you’ve got it all in one place. Again, for most people this is not necessary, but it something we can do if you like (see photos below).
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.
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
Last winter will live in the record books for a long time. Of course, by defnintion, history will last… um… forever.
But with another uncertain winter ahead, what should we keep in mind, especially during Winter Weather Awareness Week 2011.
Let me remind you that during the winter months it is time to start to prepare for the Severe Weather Season that faces us for 2012. Winter is the time to get things DONE and put to bed. In North Alabama, Southern Middle TN, and the rest of the nation’s tornado belt, it is almost like preparing for War. It is a mindset that people who don’t have to worry about tornadoes just don’t comprehend.
But let’s comprehend this. Now, in the TN Valley, we have 2 major tornado anniversaries near 6 months apart. April 27, 2011, compared to November 15, 1989. 2 times of the year that represent the chance for loss and devastation to all of us who live in the Tornado Belt of the Southeast and Mid-South.
So this Winter Weather Awareness Week, make sure you are ready for winter… shovels, ice and snow melting chemicals, and the reminders as to how to drive in snow and ice.
But, if there is another Tennessee Valley or Huntsville Tornado coming our way, you will be glad that you have spent time planning your entire safety plans.
If you need help following the April 27 Huntsville tornado, seek help, and don’t feel embarrassed. The post traumatic stress that is occurring for thousands of our neighbors is real and palpable. If you need assistance, schedule help. It might take months to even start your path to revocery.
Make sure that when tornadoes threaten the TN Valley and Huntsville once again, you have a system in place that you don’t have to worry about batteries, turning it on or off, or watching it to get your information. TV is great, but you have to be watching the right station at the right time during the right time of day to get help. Weather Radios? Those of you who have them likely don’t have batteries, have them unplugged due to them going off ‘ALL the time’, or have learned to ignore them due to their county warnings. Sirens… if it is storming, middle of the night, you might never hear them. But a PHONE CALL! You will always awaken to answer a phone call! Get WeatherCall HERE NOW! Leave your information in the form on the right of this page and you will receive a year for FREE.
Even if you have notification, you need a place to go. During the EF-5 Huntsville tornado on April 27th, lots of our neighbors lost their lives in the ‘proper shelter’, closets, bathrooms, hallways, etc., but for those in Storm Shelters and Safe Rooms, you don’t hear stories of life disaster from these folks. If you can afford one, get one, at Huntsville Tornado Shelters.com, but call TODAY. There are lots of peope scheduling to have them put in. Don’t – do it now. Get it as your Christmas gift for your family. Or if you are in a neighborhood of homes, mobile homes, or campers, pitch in with several, and get a 8, 10, 12, or 20 person storm shelter and share the costs.
Folks, Winter Weather Awareness Week is a great time to get ready for the War of 2012. Please take it seriously, and spend time checking things off your safety list.
22 Years Later, We Won’t Forget That Huntsville Tornado
It was the afternoon drive on November 15, 1989, as traffic backed up on Airport Road. Unbeknownst to those sitting in their cars while facing east, an F-4 Huntsville tornado was bearing down on them. Residents of South Huntsville along with owners and their employees were facing another business as usual day on a day that just felt eerie.
November was not supposed to be that warm, sticky, breezy. Thousands who left for work that afternoon remember the air just felt funny.
The weather warning industry still had a LONG way to go. Doppler Radars were just being installed around the country. The National Weather Service did not have the warning technology they have today.
And there it was. A “Severe Thunderstorm Warning” that included much of Madison County, in the midst of a Huntsville Tornado Watch. But for all who remember being near Airport Rd. that day, it was a storm that came without warning.
21 souls lost. 500+ injured. Hundreds of thousands of nerves made forever sensitive. And thanks to the hundreds of our friends and families either killed, injured, or rattled by the tornadoes of April 27, the would will never close, as another opens.
Every time North Alabama residents hear the voice on the other end of their WeatherCall regarding a potential Huntsville tornado, pulses race…
…a Tornado Warning for your immediate area. The sirens whine, and that old familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach starts again.
Today we remember, but today we must also act. Since that day, the National Weather Service has not missed a tornado of that magnitude thanks to amazing warning technology. The warnings are better than ever before, though in many cases, more frequent because of that very technology. The weather vendors around the nation are clamoring for the pocket books of any company willing look ahead to the next tornado disaster, frequently over-charging for their services, driving thousands of companies who want protection out of of the marketplace.
If you are looking for the most afforable, highest quality emergency weather notification system in the nation, look no further than WeatherCall Enterprise. An outgrowth of the wildly popular and proven life-saving WeatherCall product offered by 80 TV stations across the nation, WeatherCall Enterprise takes the exactness of NWS storm specific warnings, and creates a 24/7 automated monitoring and notification system that provides safety at a never before seen price-point.
Why? To allow companies who feel overwarned and underserved by traditional warning systems or overcharged by traditional notification companies a choice to keep their employees safer and their business operations more predictably smooth.
While you are here, take time to leave your contact information and take home a year of WeatherCall @Home free. Contact me, former WAAY-31 Chief Meteorologist Brad Huffines, about WeatherCall Enterprise, and what it can do for your business, and how affordable peace of mind and OSHA compliance really is. You can find me at 256-444-1234, or by email at email@example.com.
From 4 to 20 person shelter capacities, you will be surprised how affordable they really are, especially for your business (community safe rooms for 50 or even 100 people also available there, as well as above ground safe rooms).
Thanks to the NWS technology, WeatherCall, and modern communications devices, larger tornadoes will seldom surprise again. So the next time a Tennessee Valley or Huntsville tornado threatens, and they will… you will be prepared, and with a storm shelter, you will have a place to go.
April 27 Huntsville Tornadoes – So Many But So Few Words
Folks, I have so few words and so many emotions this morning.
After speaking with Danny Holmes again yesterday, and after reading more emails from people in Hackleburg and Phil Campbell, AL, and NOW looking back at some of the Huntsville tornado coverage from April 27, 2011…
when over 40 tornadoes touched down in an 11 county area in North Alabama;
when over 230,000 phone calls were made by WeatherCall, and over 156,000 delivered messages to home phones and cell phones;
when many more hundreds of thousands of text messages and emails were sent out by WeatherCall;
when over 150 of our friends and neighbors lives were ended;
When our lives were all changed that day;
when we went from knowing NO ONE who had ever lost their entire house to a tornado to knowing 10 to 20 people;
when meteorologists, first responders, treating doctors and nurses, and social workers, dropped to their knees after emotional exhaustion set in dropping them to their knees in helplessness, we all lost what was left of our deniability and weather innocence.
To those Huntsville tornado survivors, who cannot get the sound of losing all they have, in some cases, family and friends, I pray for you today.
To those who lost friends and loved ones that day and the days after, when lingering lives were taken away, I pray for you today.
To the first responders and to the National Weather Service, who did ALL THEY COULD that day, days leading up, and days after, I pray for you.
To all who’s innocence was stripped to nothing that day, I pray for you.
If you can afford it, get a Storm Shelter. If you cannot afford a storm shelter or safe room, talk to friends and neighbors, and go in together on a big one (like an LS-20 underground storm shelter). Most importantly, sign-up for WeatherCall (for free at huntsvilletornadoshelters.com when you leave your email address or just look to the right of this page if you’re already on the site) and learn to depend on it.
Remember, share, volunteer, love.
Brad Huffines – Meteorologist, National Notification Consultant, WeatherCall
The best way to prepare for another Tennessee Valley or Huntsville tornado is to leave the Valley and get the proper training. That is the mission of the Emergency Management Institute at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD. Here, teams of instructors all have real life experience in dealing with natural and man-made disasters. Being the only broadcast meteorologist to ever instruct for the Emergency Management Institute, I have a very unique take on emergency information and public information, and how the two work together.
It is my 15 years of FEMA instruction and my 27 years as a broadcast meteorologist that brought me to actively market WeatherCall’s family of products, from WeatherCall for your Home to WeatherCall Mobile with Lightning Detection to WeatherCall Enterprise, the uniquely affordable weather risk solution for businesses of all sizes. And knowing that EF-5 tornadoes, which frequently visit Huntsville and surrounding areas, have an above ground survival rate of as little as 20%, the best way to insure your family’s LIFE during a Huntsville tornado is to have the best notification in the nation and the best storm shelter in the country, Lifesaver Storm Shelters of North Alabama.
This week at the EMI in Emmitsburg, MD, we are teaching emergency managers, police, fire, EMS and community services from local communities from across the country (and even from the military, NOAA, and the CIA) how to better work together before, during and after a disaster. The poor fictitious residents of Central City, in Liberty County, in the fictitious 51st state of the United States called Columbia, will once again get SLAMMED by a series of explosions, car accidents, chemical plant eruptions, massive outdoor public events, a high rise fire that will take several more lives and injure scores. By doing this, we are giving these students, some very well experienced public and civil servants, experience with stress, problem solving, and bringing solutions.
What do I take away from this training?
More learning, more friends, and more people with whom I will be in contact for life in our joint efforts to make Americans safer before, during, and after disasters. One thing about facing a Tennessee Valley or Huntsville tornado threat. We KNOW they will come again… and again. YOU need to prepare for their inevitability by getting WeatherCall and a Lifesaver Storm Shelter.
Act TODAY. If you are interested in FEMA training and serving your community, go to the FEMA Training Website, and learn more. Perhaps one day you’ll be in one of the classes I teach. Or even Vice Versa!
Brad Huffines – Meteorologist National Notification Consultant, WeatherCall Adjunct Instructor of Media and Meteorology, DHS/FEMA EMI Husband, Father, Friend
Get Trained, Be Prepared To Spot Huntsville Tornadoes
When the Fall Severe Weather starts up again, which it will and always does, you need to know when to be prepared for the worst. But preparing yourself is only part of the battle. Having WeatherCall and a Lifesaver Storm Shelter is only part of the battle.
The fact that you are reading this blog shows you have an interest in weather and protecting yourself from the dangerous effects of thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, and damaging winds. Remember, it was November of 1989 when a Huntsville Tornado killed numerous people on Airport Road. It was a storm that at the time came with only a Severe T-storm Warning, before a Tornado Warning was issued after the damage path was well underway!
The National Weather Service offers regular training in helping you know how to spot, identify and report various weather phenomena surrounding severe storms like a Huntsville tornado
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NWS-Huntsville’s Storm Spotter Training Schedule
And for many, having an underground shelter or safe room is great, but knowing when to take shelter from the storm is of utmost importance. Not all thunderstorms are the same and certainly there are an almost infinite numbers of ways tornadoes can look, mask themselves, or even imitate other cloud types.
By going to one of the NWS Spotter Training classes, you can learn how to spot the tornado lookalikes, and learn how to report the information you see with your own eyes. Frequently, it is a report about a Huntsville tornado from someone like you that either keeps the NWS from issuing an unnecessary warning, or gives the forecaster that vital information to activate a warning, activating WeatherCall’s Life-Saving notifications, and telling people to seek their safe place, safe room, or storm shelter.
So take the time to find a Spotter Training near you and go learn to contribute to the warnings process. It could save your life and the lives of hundreds of others.
Brad Huffines – Meteorologist National Notification Consultant WeatherCall @Home, Enterprise, Mobile, Lightning Contract Instructor DHS-FEMA Emergency Management Institute
Lifesaver Storm Shelters and WeatherCall Save Lives
Tuesday afternoon, I had the honor of meeting two men who humbled me. I cannot tell you the emotion that fills me right now. I have tried to put it into cogent thought, but I simply cannot. So all I am left to do is write of my encounters with these men. These men represent hundreds. They would argue there is nothing special about them as individuals, but I must disagree. There is something deeply special about them both. I will never forget them. I will never forget the emotion. I will never forget their words and the power behind them. I will never forget how vastly different these two men are, yet living through two moments of the same tragedy has drawn them together through me, though they may never meet.
One lived in a large mobile home in Lawrence County, AL. He is a man of energy, life, and passion. His aura is one of scattered enthusiasm, and you are drawn to his beautiful energy. His smile is never ever far from his mouth, and makes yours appear immediately. When April 27, 2011, began, he saw flooding rains on his land like he had never seen. He took pictures of that rain. He shared with me those pictures. Of his home, hours before it became pure rubble. Hours before he ran from the tornado in a little truck that could as another behind his was swept off the road, the two occupants injured, but alive. WeatherCall gave him his warning. He gave that warning to his neighbors. He thanked me for it. I thanked him for trusting me. His neighbors trusted him. One helped another helped many. All survived because of a simple phone call on the business end of an amazing piece of technology. He is close with his family, and it was his family that helped him, just the same as he helped neighbors, strangers and those tied to him in tragedy. He lost almost everything he owned. But kept that which is most precious to those near him. He shared that precious gift with me today. I will never forget him. I will never forget his hug. His community of mobile homes pitched in for a 12-person shelter.
The next, a man who lives a life of service and humility. A man who saves lives every week he works in his ministry, bringing lost souls, children, and families together to find the love they have as the glue that holds their broken lives together. Some glue is stronger than others. But the glue he offers is deeply rooted in the blood of Christ, and that is evident from the first few moments you spend with him. He and his wife had a place to go underground in his storm shelter, his first major purchase after buying his Alabama home. He and his wife had that piece of mind. He received a series of calls that afternoon, as did his predecessor, that alerted him to the inanimate soul-less deliverer of disaster to hundreds before him, and hundreds after. His words were equally as impactful. His generosity to share his story as well, to open a fragile barely healed part of his soul to a man he credits for keeping his family together. His tears were mine were his. I was overwhelmed. His blessing that day came from a God who used a man who’s very answer to his prayers came in the form of death, disaster, and pain. I will never know how to handle one man looking into my eyes and telling me my actions resulted in his family’s future. At his new home, he is putting in his second storm shelter.
God’s answers to prayers are not always roses, angel wings, and puppy licks. To me, a man who looks at his time at a television station in Huntsville as a time of struggle, fighting, battling, humility, embarrassment, seasoned with victory and relationships with people, some beautiful, some dark-spirited, I had asked God countless times why was my time spent where I gave so much, was appreciated so little, even chastised for my attention to my and others’ detail, and unwillingness to ever face defeat, expecting more from everyone around me. Falling emotionally, getting back up, supporting and being supported. Seeing others bolstered, then attacked. Lies, truths, misinformation, truth, inappreciation in the end.
Escaping into a world where those who surround me have a passion not for hiding from and deceiving customers but for openly telling them of victory and defeat. Integrity. My prayer to show me why I came to such a dark and negative place was answered on such a day when hundreds faced the tragedy of their lifetimes.
It took 7 years to spread WeatherCall into the homes of 8,100 homes in the Tennessee Valley, and 12 hours to deliver 156,000 phone messages to many who would have perished but for it. When all other warning methods failed, delivering life, like a beacon along a dark shore, to those who trusted me to get it and trust it. The call of life. Sprouts of life on the day of death.
How do I ever process this. Like the two gorgeous men who shared with me their experiences of that day, the pain of others’ loss is fresh again. The answer to my prayer was again clear. A conduit of Grace through a vastly imperfect man, feeling his way was lost only to have it found in tragedy.
Bradford Huffines, Meteorologist Weather Risk and Notification
Lifesaver Storm Shelters of North Alabama is teaming up with the nation’s #1 emergency weather notification service, WeatherCall, through Huntsville Tornado Shelters.com in an effort to help keep more people safe, helping more people get shelter from the storm, as in the next Huntsville tornado. WeatherCall has already made over 6 MILLION phone calls and delivered millions of text messages and emails to its hundreds of thousands of subscribers nationwide since its launch in 2008, literally saving the lives of countless families and individuals.
“Everyone who has a storm shelter needs to know when to take shelter from the storm, and everyone who has WeatherCall needs to have a place to go to assure their safety”
Because of the life-saving nature of storm shelters and emergency notification phone calls, Huntsville Tornado Shelters.com and WeatherCall have teamed up to provide a unified and powerful force in tornado safety that is thriving in the Tennessee Valley and across the Southeast. This partnership will provide unparalleled safety and certainty to our current and future customers by not only ensuring accurate and precise address-based custom weather alerts so there’s no wasted time, energy or stress trying to figure out where the storm is or how severe it is, but also ensuring that when the time comes to take shelter from the storm, our customers will have peace of mind with our lab-engineered and real-world tested top-of-the-line underground storm shelters, knowing they’ll be safe and comfortable until the severe weather passes. When the time comes, there will be no second-guessing; our customers will know where to go.
WeatherCallis an ADDRESS SPECIFIC notification service that will actually call you with a weather warning when your specific address is placed within a National Weather Service defined tornado, Severe Thunderstorm or Flash Flood Warning (when your home is inside one of those red polygons on the radar map). That phone call has a history of saving lives in the years since WeatherCall was launched.
Everyone deserves to have somewhere safe to go in the event of severe weather like a Huntsville tornado, so with that in mind Lifesaver storm shelters of North Alabama has made these underground shelters and safe rooms as affordable as possible – a 4-person shelter installed for as little as $3,500 for example (credit cards accepted and financing is available for qualified purchasers as well).
How to Schedule a Free Personal Lifesaver Storm Shelter Viewing & Receive Free WeatherCall@Home
When you leave your name, phone and email in the form to the right of this page, Lifesaver Storm Shelters of North Alabama will contact you to arrange a viewing of one of their premier underground shelters at your home or business with no obligation or cost to you. Also, as our way of saying thanks for visiting Huntsville Tornado Shelters.com, we’ll give you access to WeatherCall @Home for free for an entire year – just fill out that form to the right.
In that email, you’ll also see a few powerful testimonials from real people with real stories about how weathercallsaved their lives. We believe that everyone who has a storm shelter needs to know when to take shelter from the storm, and everyone who has WeatherCall needs to have a place to go to assure their safety.
Please don’t overlook this amazing tool. Especially since through Lifesaver Storm Shelters of North Alabama, and Huntsville Tornado Shelters.com, you receive your first year of WeatherCall @Home for free. Make sure to take advantage of this life-saving service. It honestly could, literally could, help you save your own life.
Thank you for visiting!
Brad Huffines – Meteorologist National Notification Consultant
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
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.
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!
huntsville tornado shelter” alt=”huntsville tornado shelter” src=”http://huntsvilletornadoshelters.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/tornado-rising-behind-first-baptist-church-264bb95810e6b2d1-300×225.jpg” width=”300″ height=”225″>For anyone who’s lived in Huntsville or the surrounding areas for any length of time, you know that Huntsville tornadoes do pop up from time to time. The question is, how do you best protect yourself from a Huntsville tornado?
First of all, as we’ve seen in late spring of 2011, the only real safe place to be when a tornado comes through is underground. When a strong tornado comes through with winds approaching 200 miles an hour – F5 strength – which again we just witnessed, no residential building or structure can really sustain those kinds of winds. In some cases in that strong storm we saw foundations of houses wiped completely clean.
So underground is where you want to be. The next question has to do with the types of underground shelters available. Not only do you need to take into consideration price and construction quality and strength but some other factors you may not have thought of:
Electrical conductivity (preferably non-conductive when water and electricity are present, ie, lightning)
Permeability (porous) – some materials allow moisture to seep in, creating an environment that can lead to mildew and mold, odors, bugs, etc. You may hesitate to use your shelter if you’re more afraid or unsure of what’s in it
Now, to be honest, doing something to protect yourself during a storm is better than nothing – it would be better to lie down than to just stand up. But, why not give yourself the peace of mind knowing that you and your family will be safe when the next huntsville tornado or severe weather hits?