Tornadoes are one of the most destructive and deadly natural disasters that can occur. These powerful storms can cause widespread damage to homes, buildings, and infrastructure, and can result in the loss of life. It is crucial to have a plan in place to protect yourself and your family during tornado season. One of the most effective ways to ensure your safety is by having an above ground tornado shelter. In this article, we will explore the dangers of tornadoes, why an above ground shelter is necessary, and the steps you can take to choose and maintain the right shelter for your needs.
Understanding the Dangers of Tornadoes: Why You Need an Above Ground Shelter
Tornadoes are violent rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. They can reach wind speeds of over 200 miles per hour and cause significant damage in a matter of minutes. The dangers associated with tornadoes include flying debris, collapsing structures, and strong winds that can cause injury or death. Having an above ground tornado shelter is essential because it provides a safe space where you can seek refuge during a storm.
An above ground shelter offers protection from flying debris and collapsing structures, which are two of the most significant dangers during a tornado. These shelters are designed to withstand high winds and provide a secure space for you and your family to wait out the storm. They are typically made of reinforced steel or concrete and are built to meet or exceed FEMA guidelines for tornado shelters.
Finding the Right Location for Your Above Ground Tornado Shelter
When choosing the location for your above ground tornado shelter, there are several factors to consider. First, you want to ensure that it is easily accessible from your home. This means placing it in a location that is close enough for you to reach quickly during a storm. It should also be located on higher ground to minimize the risk of flooding.
Additionally, you should consider the terrain and soil conditions of the area where you plan to install your shelter. The ground should be stable and able to support the weight of the shelter. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may need to elevate the shelter or choose a different location altogether.
Comparing Different Types of Above Ground Tornado Shelters
There are several different types of above ground tornado shelters available, each with its own pros and cons. The most common types include safe rooms, storm shelters, and above ground bunkers.
Safe rooms are small, reinforced spaces that are built inside your home. They can be located in a basement, on the ground floor, or even on an upper level. Safe rooms are designed to withstand high winds and flying debris and provide a secure space for you and your family during a tornado.
Storm shelters are standalone structures that are built outside of your home. They can be installed in your yard or garage and are typically made of reinforced steel or concrete. Storm shelters offer more space than safe rooms and can accommodate larger groups of people.
Above ground bunkers are similar to storm shelters but are typically larger and offer more amenities. They can be customized to include features such as bathrooms, kitchens, and sleeping areas. Above ground bunkers are ideal for those who want a more comfortable space during a storm.
How to Choose the Best Size and Capacity for Your Tornado Shelter
When choosing the size and capacity of your tornado shelter, you need to consider the number of people in your household and any special needs they may have. FEMA recommends that each person have a minimum of 5 square feet of floor space in a shelter. This means that a family of four would need a shelter with at least 20 square feet of floor space.
It is also important to consider any special needs that members of your household may have. For example, if you have elderly or disabled family members, you may need to choose a shelter that is wheelchair accessible or has additional features to accommodate their needs.
Essential Features to Look for in an Above Ground Tornado Shelter
When choosing an above ground tornado shelter, there are several essential features to look for. First and foremost, the shelter should be made of reinforced steel or concrete and meet or exceed FEMA guidelines for tornado shelters. It should also have a secure door that can withstand high winds and flying debris.
Ventilation is another important feature to consider. The shelter should have adequate ventilation to ensure a constant supply of fresh air. This can be achieved through vents or a ventilation system that circulates air from the outside.
Lighting is also crucial in a tornado shelter. The shelter should have battery-powered lights or a backup generator to provide illumination during a power outage. This will help to reduce anxiety and provide a sense of security during a storm.
Installation and Maintenance Tips for Your Above Ground Tornado Shelter
Proper installation and maintenance are essential to ensure that your above ground tornado shelter is always ready for use. When installing the shelter, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and any local building codes or regulations. This will ensure that the shelter is installed correctly and meets all safety requirements.
Regular maintenance is also important to keep your shelter in good working order. This includes inspecting the shelter for any damage or wear and tear, checking the door seals for proper function, and testing any ventilation or lighting systems. It is also important to keep the area around the shelter clear of debris and vegetation that could obstruct access.
Preparing Your Home and Family for Tornado Season
In addition to having an above ground tornado shelter, there are several steps you can take to prepare your home and family for tornado season. One of the most important things you can do is create an emergency kit. This kit should include essential items such as food, water, medications, flashlights, batteries, and a first aid kit. It is also a good idea to include a battery-powered weather radio so that you can stay informed about any tornado warnings or watches.
Another important step is to create an emergency plan. This plan should include a designated meeting place for your family in the event of a tornado and instructions on how to access and use your above ground shelter. It is important to practice drills regularly so that everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of a tornado.
Creating an Emergency Plan that Includes Your Above Ground Tornado Shelter
Creating an emergency plan that includes your above ground tornado shelter is crucial for ensuring the safety of your family during a storm. The plan should outline the steps to take when a tornado warning is issued, including how to access the shelter and what items to bring with you.
It is important to designate a safe space in your home where everyone can gather before heading to the shelter. This space should be away from windows and on the lowest level of your home. Once everyone is gathered, you can then proceed to the shelter together.
Staying Safe and Calm During a Tornado: What to Do Inside Your Shelter
Once inside your above ground tornado shelter, it is important to stay calm and follow safety guidelines. Bring essential items such as food, water, medications, and a battery-powered weather radio with you into the shelter. It is also a good idea to bring blankets or sleeping bags for added comfort.
During the storm, it is important to stay away from windows and doors. If possible, position yourself in the center of the shelter, away from any walls or corners. This will provide additional protection from flying debris.
Communication is also important during a tornado. Make sure everyone in your household knows how to contact each other and have a plan in place for checking in after the storm has passed. It is also a good idea to have a battery-powered cell phone charger in your emergency kit.
After the Storm: Assessing Damage and Recovering from a Tornado
After a tornado has passed, it is important to assess the damage and begin the recovery process. First, check yourself and your family members for any injuries and seek medical attention if necessary. Then, carefully inspect your home for any structural damage or hazards.
If your home has been severely damaged, it may not be safe to stay there. In this case, you should seek temporary shelter with friends, family, or in a community shelter. Contact your insurance company to report the damage and begin the claims process.
Once you have ensured the safety of yourself and your family, you can begin the process of cleaning up and rebuilding. This may involve hiring contractors to repair or rebuild your home, as well as working with your insurance company to replace any damaged belongings.
Having an above ground tornado shelter is essential for protecting yourself and your family during tornado season. By understanding the dangers of tornadoes, choosing the right location and size for your shelter, and properly maintaining it, you can ensure that you are prepared for any storm that comes your way. Remember to also take steps to prepare your home and family for tornado season, including creating an emergency kit and practicing drills. By following these steps, you can stay safe and calm during a tornado and recover quickly after the storm has passed.
If you’re interested in the best above ground tornado shelter, you may also want to check out this article on “Top 10 Must-Have EDC Essentials for Men – Everyday Carry 2022.” It provides a comprehensive list of essential items that every man should have on hand for everyday emergencies and survival situations. From multi-tools to flashlights, this article covers all the necessary gear to ensure you’re prepared for any situation. Read more
What is an above ground tornado shelter?
An above ground tornado shelter is a structure designed to protect individuals from the high winds and debris associated with tornadoes. It is typically installed outside a home or building and can be made of various materials such as steel, concrete, or fiberglass.
Why should I consider getting an above ground tornado shelter?
An above ground tornado shelter can provide a safe place for you and your family to seek shelter during a tornado. It can protect you from flying debris and high winds, which are the leading causes of injury and death during tornadoes.
What are the benefits of an above ground tornado shelter?
The benefits of an above ground tornado shelter include easy access, quick installation, and the ability to withstand high winds and debris. It can also add value to your home and provide peace of mind during severe weather events.
What are the different types of above ground tornado shelters?
There are several types of above ground tornado shelters, including safe rooms, storm shelters, and panic rooms. Safe rooms are typically built inside a home or building, while storm shelters and panic rooms are installed outside.
What should I look for when choosing an above ground tornado shelter?
When choosing an above ground tornado shelter, you should consider factors such as the size, material, and location of the shelter. You should also ensure that the shelter meets FEMA guidelines and is certified by a reputable organization.
How much does an above ground tornado shelter cost?
The cost of an above ground tornado shelter can vary depending on the size, material, and location of the shelter. On average, a basic above ground tornado shelter can cost between $3,000 and $6,000, while larger and more advanced models can cost upwards of $10,000.