Having a concrete storm shelter in the backyard is a must for anyone who lives in the tornado alley of the United States. The timing when the tornadoes will come is unpredictable but you can make an effort to be prepared. Your family's health and safety must be your top priority. Educating everyone in your home how to react in the case of a tornado warning is essential as every second counts. This shelter is also perfect for hurricanes.
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Determine a location. It will need to be near the house for quick access, but not under trees that can crack the concrete. You will want it to be away from structures that can collapse on top of it.
Contact a company that prefabricates a shell according to FEMA standards. The complete cost of the whole project can still be under £1,950 if you dig the site yourself. Building it yourself with concrete blocks is possible, but much can go wrong and that's why the prefab kit makes the most sense. There are many companies that specialise in storm shelters so you can shop around for the best deal for yourself.
Prepare the site. One of the simplest shelters is built 4 1/2 feet underground with 2 feet above ground. The dirt that was excavated is then mounded around the top of the shelter forming a smooth hill that can be landscaped attractively. This helps when having to deal with high water.
Have the company come out and install the shell. It should be steel reinforced concrete and also have ventilation plans. The door should be heavy duty, preferably with a way of jacking it open in the case of fallen debris covering the opening. It should also include some sort of stairs for stepping down into it from the doorway.
Stock it with an emergency kit and even some form of seating.
Tips and warnings
- FEMA has free engineering plans for designing a safe room within your house.
- Always keep a source of drinking water in your shelter especially during the tornado season.
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