Unlike hurricanes, where you usually have ample warning time to either prepare or leave, tornadoes don't offer that luxury. Sometimes you only have minutes to take cover. And, while taking refuge in the bathtub, under a mattress may be all the protection you have, it may not be enough to keep you and your family safe.
The best protection against a tornado is an underground shelter. This can be something as simple as a cellar or something as sophisticated as a fiberglass shelter outfitted with vents and space for storage of water, flashlights, battery-operated radio, first aid kit and other emergency necessities. The fiberglass sheter pictures came with two capped air vents and access for electrical wire through a special pipe.
If you are planning for an outside, underground shelter, consider the location. Any shelter should be away from any trees or other possible debris that might fall on the door(s).
Another consideration is water. The shelter should not be in a flood plain nor should it be in an area where rainwater might seep in.
With today's GPS capabilities, the location of the shelter should be on file with local law enforcement agencies as well as with any other agency in the area that is responsible for disaster rescue.
The following pictures were taken during the installation of a fiberglass tornado shelter.
For Texas residents, the State is offering a rebate on safe rooms and shelters. To see if you qualify, visit this link.
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