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Seeking storm shelter advice


Protongunner

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We've been kicking around for years the idea of getting one of those storm shelters that are put in your garage floor slab. I think we are going to move forward on this as I don't see us moving anytime soon. Does anyone have one? How do you like it? Any advice or local installer recommendations? Thanks in advance.

Edited by Protongunner
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  • Protongunner changed the title to Seeking storm shelter advice

I think I'm going to go with the style that is more underground for the space saving aspect. Looks pretty simple as far as they cut a hole in your concrete, dig out a hole underground and then drop a steel box with stairs and a sliding lid. There's a few different folks that make them and they look something like this.

Screenshot_20211221-050537.png

Edited by Protongunner
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1 hour ago, Protongunner said:

I think I'm going to go with the style that is more underground

The issue I had with one of those is when the building comes down on top of it you can’t get out and depending on where you live flooding will be an issue.

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1 hour ago, Protongunner said:

I think I'm going to go with the style that is more underground for the space saving aspect. Looks pretty simple as far as they cut a hole in your concrete, dig out a hole underground and then drop a steel box with stairs and a sliding lid. There's a few different folks that make them and they look something like this.

Screenshot_20211221-050537.png

Having your house collapse on top of doors like this always worried me.

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If you routinely park a car on top of it, how quickly can you access it? 

Flooding is definitely a concern, but I feel sure the folks who design these things have given that and the possibility of debris piling up on top of it more than a passing thought. 

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Most of the ones I have seen were placed with the opening fairly close to the outside garage door. If you have a decent sized suburban 2 car garage, a normal size sedan/crossover style car (Not a giant SUV or pickup truck), and don't have a ton of crap stored against the front wall the car is forward enough to easily access the opening of the shelter without moving the vehicle. 
Without stuff stored on my front wall I have 6+ feet behind my wife's car to the garage door. Plenty of room for the shelter access if I had one. 
I looked into the inground garage shelters as an option when we were building our house but due to our floor plan and how the house sat on the slope of the lot I was able to do a larger reinforced block and cement crawlspace shelter instead. 

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7 minutes ago, peejman said:

😄 😄 that's funny right there...

There's about 2" between my trailblazer and the door.  

I know the feeling. One of the other bays of the garage normally has a motorcycle in front of the spare car and the mower behind it during the summer. There is about 2" between each. I leave lots of room around the wife's car simply so I can access the mower and motorcycle without moving everything I own around. 

I don't even try to fit the truck in the garage. It would be fine with nothing else in there but not with all the crap I have packed in the garage. 

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50 minutes ago, MacGyver said:

I'll take my chances with a storm before I climb into one of those things in the floor.

I'm not climbing into my coffin of my own free will.

 

I don't see the issue really. I just saw on the news a family in KY survived the tornado in one of these. It was buried in their yard though, not in the garage. 

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1 hour ago, Erik88 said:

I don't see the issue really. I just saw on the news a family in KY survived the tornado in one of these. It was buried in their yard though, not in the garage. 

My brother and sister-in-law actually have one of these that are outside their home in the ground.  Not necessarily a bad option, I just see using it more if it is inside my garage.  Sure it could be a pain in the butt getting out of there if the house was to collapse on top of it but so would getting blown away and ending up in someone else's tree line.

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As one whom was in a tornado when I a kid, allow me to opine.

The house I was in when the tornado hit was totally flattened. As mentioned earlier, anyone who puts a storm shelter inside their home is suicidal, IMO. The old folks used to use their root cellars outside for shelters & they were smart folks, IMO. 

Doing one outside, under the surface also needs to have something to pump out rain water. Sump pump, whatever. Condensation, rain water, etc will make for some pooled water & it will lead to mildew & mold. A low watt bulb burning 7/24 would also keep it dry too. 

It doesn't have to be underground as also noted. The above cut away shows good thought with the rebar, concrete & brick structure. Personally, I would have added some slotted windows for ventilation. Good way to look outside too. 

My .o2

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I lived in Central Oklahoma for 13 years, very near to Moore OK (Google "Moore F5 tornado"). I've seen many lives saved due to storm shelters, and many lost due to the absence of one. I was also a trained storm-spotter for a Central Oklahoma police department, so tornadoes were part of our lives for quite a while (but then in 10 years in Mt. Juliet, we've had VERY NEAR misses 3 times, including just a week ago - 0.2 of a mile  !!! What the h*ll ???).

If you get a commercial one, just make sure it's passed the Texas Tech wind test, whether you're looking at underground or aboveground. My only reservation about aboveground (assuming the shelter itself is properly built) is the sufficiency of the anchoring system. Proper strength, number  and length of anchor bolts (into concrete !!) is the question. Do your research. And don't let some salesman tell you "we're approved". GET PROOF !! I've already talked to two outfits around Nashville since last week that flat-a** lied to my face about testing, once I checked their claims. If their own product has not been tested, or they won't give you the results, I won't go near it. Anybody that wants you to "take their word for it" --- you're out the door, guys.

Edited by docachna
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On 12/20/2021 at 7:39 PM, Protongunner said:

We've been kicking around for years the idea of getting one of those storm shelters that are put in your garage floor slab. I think we are going to move forward on this as I don't see us moving anytime soon. Does anyone have one? How do you like it? Any advice or local installer recommendations? Thanks in advance.

Like many folks, I felt the last tornadoes were too close for comfort. I haven’t seen a swarm of tornadoes like that in a long time. 
I am looking at several vendors. 
I lived in Oklahoma for quite a few years, when I was a kid we always went to our neighbors basement. 
After seeing the aftermath of so many tornadoes, I just don’t think riding it out in the bathroom is best idea. 
I want a professional shelter.  I looked at Fains in Jackson and a couple venders in Nashville.  Haven’t made my mind up.  I like the convenience of a steel safe room but I want to make sure it’s up to testing standards. 
In ground away from the house at zero dark thirty makes a little slower to get too.

 

Edited by TennesseeCamper
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9 hours ago, TennesseeCamper said:

In ground away from the house at zero dark thirty makes a little slower to get too.

Look at your worst case scenario. Imagine your house flattened, all your trees blown down. Then imagine where the best place for a shelter would be away from all that debris so you can exit the shelter safely. Plan accordingly.

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22 hours ago, OldIronFan said:

I know the feeling. One of the other bays of the garage normally has a motorcycle in front of the spare car and the mower behind it during the summer. There is about 2" between each. I leave lots of room around the wife's car simply so I can access the mower and motorcycle without moving everything I own around. 

I don't even try to fit the truck in the garage. It would be fine with nothing else in there but not with all the crap I have packed in the garage. 

Yep, my bike is 2" from the front, the right side is inaccessible because of the mower, and I can't open the left side doors all the way because of the yard tools. But it fits.   My wife's van is accessible all the way around and there's room to open the hatch with the garage door closed. 

Growing up, our garage was always Dad's wood shop. We never parked cars in it. So one of my priorities was to be able to park my car in my garage, once I got one. 🙂

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You won't have a car parked over the shelter....you have to move it, to get into the shelter.  Debris on top shouldn't be the main concern, surviving the wind event is 1st priority.  A whistle, air horn, emergency locator, etc should be inside.  If you have water you will in all likely hood survive until rescued even IF you can't get out immediately.

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I believe that Colin Furze has the best option for this.  It's not finished yet but his underground bunker is done.  He's working on the tunnel from his house to his workshop right now.  Once that is done, he will finish from the workshop to the bunker.  
 

 

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