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.

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15 thoughts on “Installing an Underground LS-6 Lifesaver Storm Shelter

  1. Hi Hans

    What a Great answer to a big problem, I am from South Africa and we do not sit with problems like this in South Africa.

    I dont think i ever see a real Tornado in South Africa , there is strong winds in Cape Town but it is not really Tornado’s.I i was in the stats or any place were Tornado’s is a big problem i Would get one for my Family.

    All the best and I hope you get a lot of customers with this post.


    • Hey Theuns, thanks for your comments. Yes, it is a big problem here, as far as the real damage potential and cost of life for those without severe weather or tornado protection. The storms are prevalent in the southeast United States due to the weather patterns with cold arctic air meeting warm gulf moisture. However, I do believe tornadoes have formed in every one of the lower 48 states so they really can happen anywhere and at any time (which we saw just recently here in mid-January).

  2. This is quite an informative post, Hans. Thanks for putting it together. It’s good to know that there is a call-before-you-dig number we can call. I’ve always wondered how they install these underground shelters. Now I know. It’s good to know that these things get anchored down well.

    • Srinivas, yes each of our shelters are anchored into the ground to ensure they stay put. I think its important for people to see the process of how we install these shelters beforehand to help them understand what all goes into it so they can better appreciate their purchase (aka life insurance).

  3. Sadie-Michaela Harris says:

    Hello Hans,
    #Wow this is interesting stuff not least because in my part of France and all others under usual weather conditions we do not experience weather. For safety we do not need to purchase a storm shelter ours are much more gentle by comparison. My goodness it did make me think though, sends shivers down my neck think about such things! Do schools, hospitals, churches and office buildings also have such facilities for all users when such weather arises? I imagine so otherwise the chance of being at home and only having safety when at home might be a bit hit and miss… these days we often spend more time out of our homes than in them. Are such occurrences frequent near you Hans? 🙂

    • Hey Sadie, some businesses and schools do have protection from severe weather, however many do not. Many schools simply let out early or start late if severe weather is predicted. There are a few community shelters around but for the most part people must provide for their own severe weather protection, opting to get their own above-ground safe room or underground storm shelter. There are many alert systems but even then people need to have a safe place to go as the worst of these storms – which we saw last April – can tear an entire house off its foundation, leaving just a concrete slab behind.

  4. Nathalie Villeneuve says:

    Hello Hans,

    I have to show your website to my husband. Just last week he was talking about wanting to install one of these on our property. I’m all for it and I see that there are many sizes and style. I would want a large one cause I think it could get claustrophobic in there…LOL Great post and website!

    • Hey Nathalie, just have him give us a call anytime at 256-258-WIND and we’d be more than happy to answer any of his questions. We have shelters as large as 12-adult and even 20-adult (the LS-12 is our most popular shelter actually).

  5. In Illinois, definitely calling before digging is important. One of my neighbors made a big boo boo by digging first and hit the water line. Was not fun.

    The process of installing the underground shelters are pretty cool… the one you installed does not seem so large. Are there larger ones, say for bigger families or people who really are claustrophobic?

    • The LS-6 shelter in this article is rated for 6-adults, installed from $4500, one of our smaller storm shelters. We have underground shelters as large as 20-adult, or above ground safe rooms we can build as large as 10×50 for up to 100 people. The call before you dig is very important for safety and to reduce liability for any damage caused (plus it’s no fun to hit a water line – especially a gas line!)

  6. Stevie Smith says:

    As recent events have proven once more, when it comes to staying alive, and if one lives in a tornado area, an underground LS-6 Livesaver Storm Shelter may be the only thing that can protect one’s family.

  7. Heike@Container Shipping to Bulawayo says:

    Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any points for newbie blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    • Heike, I appreciate your feedback. I would highly suggest you take a look at this article on blogging which will point you in the right direction: Blogging 101

  8. Kathleen Axsom says:

    I live in South Central Indiana and would like to purchase and have an underground Tornado Shelter installed near or inside our home. It is built on a cement slab. Who can I call for this purchase and job. Would like to have before tornado season begins. The storms and tornado’s seem to be increasing here. Thank you.

  9. Impressive.! Thanks for sharing sharing this informations. The images given in this page shows the popularity of this shelter homes. The installation methods given in this also helpful to install ours in a proper manner. Keep sharing more about the same in the upcoming posts.

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