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As we increasingly witness the power and unpredictability of nature, the importance of safety measures at home cannot be overstated. For those residing in tornado-prone areas like Tornado Alley, a comprehensive safety strategy for emergencies is a necessity, not a luxury.
This strategy must include investing in safety measures. Having safe rooms installed in the homes of families is vital. A perfect way to provide near absolute protection for your family can be by purchasing and installing a multipurpose safety unit like a Tornado Shelter. This hardened structure, specifically designed for your protection, is one of the best investments you can make. However, it's about more than finding a tornado shelter. It's about finding the best tornado shelters on the market.
Whether you seek shelter to protect yourself in natural disasters like tornados or need a safe space for securing your firearms and ammo, a tornado shelter can be ideal. It is a safe, durable, and unbreakable vault that safely stores expensive firearms and ammo. Whether you have a single gun or multiple firearms, you can keep them safe in your tornado room. You can also store other valuables in the vault to avoid the risks of burglary or incurring civil penalties that may come if your gun is lost or stolen and there are delays in reporting the incident.
What to Consider When Buying Tornado Rooms
One of the primary uses of tornado rooms is to protect yourself and your family from natural disasters. Therefore, checking for a few safety indicators while purchasing a safe room is essential. While first responders may take time to help, tornado protection rooms are ready to protect you immediately and can serve multiple safety purposes. You can use them to protect your valuable items, confidential documents, firearms, ammo, etc.
However, not all tornado rooms are created equal. To guarantee the highest level of protection, it's essential to understand what to look for when purchasing a tornado room. Let's delve deeper into these key considerations:
Tornado Room Certifications:
The certification of tornado rooms is the primary indicator of safety in the face of tornadoes. The engineering research center of the area may define specific guidelines for protection in natural disasters that the residents of that community will have to abide by. Vault manufacturers who build tornado rooms prepare them for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certifications. According to the FEMA guidelines, the safe rooms undergo multiple impact tests to ensure complete safety before being sold and installed in businesses or families' homes.
The Role of Design in Safety
Apart from the FEMA tests, you may need to look for the most suitable design. Manufacturers build safe rooms for different purposes. For example, a gun vault may not be perfect for natural disasters. Typically, a tornado room can withstand high-speed impacts of up to 200-250 mph wind speeds. Moreover, it can also withstand the impact of falling high buildings. You can check for the specifications when you opt for a tornado room.
The Importance of Construction Materials
Construction material is another crucial factor to consider. Custom-built safe rooms use concrete slab-hardened structures specifically designed to withstand pressures. However, manufacturers build pre-fabricated safe rooms using various materials, including steel plates, fiberglass, concrete, corrugated steel, and polyethylene. These materials combine to form a hardened structure capable of withstanding any pressure.
Choosing Between Underground and Above-Ground Tornado Rooms
Whether you need to store your firearms or build a safe room for protection, you may choose between underground and above-ground tornado rooms. While underground shelters may seem more secure, the above-ground safe rooms offer the same level of safety. However, in the case of tornados, underground vaults may get blocked with debris from the outside.
To ensure the foolproof security of your safe room, you must check with your manufacturer if the construction materials, design, and methods comply with these standards.
FEMA Ratings Explained
FEMA is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. It is responsible for emergency management and issuing safety measures guidelines under natural and unnatural disasters. The agency has defined several ratings to ensure the safety of a safe room manufactured in the country.
To achieve a rating, bank vaults, gun safes, and tornado rooms undergo multiple tests per FEMA guidelines. These ratings aim to identify the level of security each safe room, tornado room, or bank vault has. Here is an overview of some of the codes and guidelines in place.
This code addresses the design standards to construct a safe room for a one or two-family dwelling capable of near-absolute protection from high-speed winds. Any safe room design that complies with this rating can withstand high-speed winds of tornados and wind-borne debris.
This code addresses the design and construction of community safe rooms to withstand different high-speed wind zones and their impact on the occupants.
This International Code Council standard defines the guidelines for designing and constructing storm shelters capable of withstanding events like hurricanes and tornados.
FEMA and ICC defined these standards for vault safe room manufacturers all over the U.S., so if you want to construct a safe room in your new house, you may need to comply with these guidelines.
Exploring the Top 3 Tornado Room Manufacturers
Diving into the world of tornado room manufacturers can seem a bit much, especially when all you want is the best protection for your family and precious stuff at home. We're here to simplify things. In the following sections, we will carefully examine the top three manufacturers in the industry, focusing on their unique features and offerings.
Let's get to it!
1) Swisher Safety Shelter SR84X054G
The Swisher ESP Safety Shelter is one of the best safety rooms available. The solid build of the vault makes it popular among suburban houses. It offers you multipurpose safety to store your valuable items and firearms. You can also use it to protect yourself in emergencies.
The ESP stands for Emergency-Security-Preparedness. You can withstand all kinds of threats with this super-heavy and super-tough safe room. If you live in an area where you expect burglars to breach your property, you can keep your valuables safe. Moreover, you can also keep your firearms hidden inside the vault.
If you opt for the Swisher, you may need to install it indoors. You can also install it 150 feet away from your residence. A downside to buying this safety shelter is that it is not waterproof. You may need to install it in a weather-protected external space like a garage.
If we talk about the tests, the Swisher Shelter passed the National Wind Institute verification tests at Texas Tech University. The safe room successfully survived 15-pound 2x4s at 100 mph impacts.
Moreover, the Swisher ESP shelters comply with FEMA 320 and FEMA 361 per the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) verification.
The bolt-together design of the safe room makes it easy to construct and relocate. The shielded air vents provide uninterrupted airflow inside the room. If you wonder how many people can survive inside it, the Swisher ESP shelter can comfortably accommodate up to 9 people.
Here are some of the critical features of Swisher SR84X054G:
- Bolt-together design
- Emergency panels for rapid shelter exit
- Quick-manipulating locking mechanism
- Quick-release sliding door design
- Shielded air vents for uninterrupted airflow
- Bench, shelf, gun rack, and additional interior accessories
- Up to 9-Person Residential Capacity
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2) Survive A Storm Above Ground Shelter
As the name suggests, Survive A Storm Shelter is an extremely tough tornado room. It can easily withstand natural disasters like tornados, hurricanes, and more. As one of the best-selling products, the Survive A Storm Safety Shelter has several safety features.
Most suitable for natural disasters, this safe room installation can serve multiple safety purposes. If you want to keep your firearms and ammo safe, store them inside this tough vault. Moreover, you can also keep your cash stacks locked inside it.
Survive A Storm is an above-the-ground shelter. You can get absolute protection by opting for it. The manufacturers used 2A ballistic-grade steel to construct it. This safety vault provides bulletproof security using an NIJ Level 2A ballistic rating.
Since it is an above-the-ground tornado room, you can install it indoors in a designated space. Constructed using heavy-duty quarter-inch steel, the Survive A Storm emergency shelter can withstand all weather conditions, including extremely high wind speeds. Moreover, a locking bench inside the room provides secure storage space for vital supplies. You do not have to compromise on your seating space for additional supplies.
One of the many pros of this state-of-the-art tornado room is the conduit connection. If you want to connect your electronic devices or mobile phone, you can use a conduit connection source inside the room.
Here, we have listed the main features of Survive A Storm tornado room:
- Bulletproofing with an NIJ Level 2A ballistics rating
- Absolute protection against 250 MPH EF5 tornado winds with the National Storm Shelter Association seal
- Safe shelter locking bench seat for supplies and valuables
- Corrosion-resistant properties due to baked-on powder-coated finish
- 1/4″ steel body for ultimate protection in an EF-5 tornado
3) Twister POD Tornado Storm Shelter
The Twister POD Tornado Storm Shelter is another reliable choice for shelters. It uses 1000 lbs of steel construction to withstand the high-pressure impacts of disasters and natural events. Twister POD is an above-the-ground tornado shelter suitable for indoor settings.
One of the major highlights of this tornado safe room is its multipurpose use. The heavy structure can withstand anything from a close disaster impact to a high-speed tornado. The elliptical shape makes it unique from other safe rooms in its category.
The powder-coating finish on the inside keeps it safe from rust and corrosion under different weather. The manufacturers use RedHead Anchor Bolts to install the Twister POD. Each bolt applies a 4600 lb pressure on the ground to hold the vault in its place. Twelve bolts use the same force, making it a total of 55,200 pounds of pressure.
A downside of buying Twister POD is its limited space for accommodation. It can only allow four persons to sit comfortably inside the room space on the benches. If you have a pet, you may also be able to accommodate it.
The triple-locking single-lever latching system with the door handle makes it easy to access. It also provides extra security against external impacts.
If you want to buy the Twister POD shelter, we have listed the primary features below:
- Powder Coated inside and out for long-lasting resistance against corrosion
- FEMA-rated four occupants
- Over 7,000 psi in tension strength mounting system
- Nearly 1,000 lbs of USA steel construction
- Triple-locking single-lever latching mechanism
- 4500 lbs pressure RedHead Anchor Bolts
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where is the best place to put a tornado shelter?
You can install a tornado shelter both under and above the ground. Installing it above the ground exposes its sides to wind-borne debris. However, if you install it underground, you may face the problem of debris blocking the exit. Some of the best-selling tornado shelters offer above-the-ground installation to avoid underground blockage.
Are brick houses safer in a tornado?
Brick houses may be able to survive a low-impact ground tornado. However, for extremely high-speed winds like F5 tornados, brick houses may receive significant damage from wind-born debris if you want to ensure your family’s safety in tornados and hurricanes. You may opt for ground storm shelters that can accommodate your house occupants comfortably and store emergency supplies.
Can you survive an F5 tornado in a basement?
The F5 tornados can cause immense damage to residential and commercial places. In many cases, houses and buildings can sweep away by high-speed winds. To ensure your safety in F5 tornados, you may need to stay out of its path. The best way is to create a ground-safe room in the basement with an emergency exit path.
Is crawl space good for tornados?
Crawl spaces can be suitable for survival in low-impact tornados and storms. However, if we talk about F5 tornados, crawl spaces may face the impact of the falling house and resulting debris. If you construct your home using string additives to withstand high pressures, you can benefit from the crawl spaces. One of the best ways is to opt for a basement tornado room.
Understanding the importance of securing your family and valuables in the face of natural disasters is paramount. Our analysis of these top three manufacturers can guide you in making a well-informed decision.
These manufacturers offer well-tested, FEMA-approved tornado rooms designed with a focus on security and resilience. Each manufacturer provides unique features tailored to meet your needs, from the construction materials to the design.
Remember, your ultimate choice depends on your personal preferences, space, and budget. Stay safe, stay prepared, and remember, a well-protected home makes for a more peaceful mind.