Frequently Asked Questions
What is the height of your storm shelters?
Our shelters made for indoor installation are 78" tall. The shelters for outdoor installation are 75" tall. The difference in height between the indoor and outdoor units is due to the ventilation covers. The outside unit ventilation covers are installed on the sides rather than on the top, like that of the indoor unit.
Do your shelters have a floor?
No, we don't customarily install a floor in our shelters, but for an additional charge we can. The way our units are sealed and anchored to the concrete, they are not going to leak from above or below, so a floor is not necessary. For an additional charge, we also make available the option of indoor/outdoor carpeting to cover the concrete on which the shelter is placed.
Does an above-ground shelter protect me as well as in-ground shelter will?
Yes, our above-ground shelters are designed to withstand the winds of EF-5 tornados. They have been tested and approved by the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech University. Our units exceed the standards required by FEMA 320/361 and ANSI ICC 500 guidelines for the construction of Tornado shelters and safe rooms.
Why wouldn't I want an in-ground or below-ground shelter?
Over time, in-ground shelters will eventually leak, either around the door seal, or inside the unit itself. In-ground shelters can also have issues holding moisture and condensation. Rainwater can easily collect if a number of occupants are entering an inground shelter during a storm that is producing a lot of rain.
High-intensity tornados can rip homes into pieces, toss automobiles, and fling heavy objects from all different directions. An in-ground shelter installed outside, as well as a below-ground shelter installed inside, can easily become heavily covered with a massive amount of debris that can trap the occupants inside the shelter.
An additional concern regarding in-ground or below-ground shelters, is the possibility that the occupants of the shelter may be elderly or have mobility issues. With that, going up and down the steps or the latter of the shelter may be extremely difficult, and heighten the risk of injury. If the occupants are confined to a wheelchair, than that would also increase the level of difficulty and danger in transporting them into and out of the in-ground or below-ground shelter.
How do I decide which shelter is the right size for me?
According to FEMA 320 and ICC 500 guidelines for residential units, 3-square feet of floor area per person is what is recommended. For commercial units, 5-square feet per person is recommended.
Can I have electricity inside my storm shelter?
Yes, however, that is not a service that we offer. The unit has to be grounded and you would need to consult a professional electrician to do the necessary wiring. As an alternative, which will save you the money of having to hire a professional electrician, we suggest that you run a heavy-duty extension cord from a nearby electrical outlet in through the shelter vent and into the unit. That will give you the capability to plug in any electrical items that you may have use of.
Do you charge a mileage delivery fee?
Yes, if the installation is outside of a 50-mile radius of Decatur, AL we charge a minimal one-way mileage fee. This fee is calculated at $1.00/mile from our location in Decatur to the address of your installation.
Are your shelters FEMA 320/361 and ANSI ICC 500 compliant?
Yes, our shelters have been successfully tested to comply with FEMA 320/361 requirements. Our units actually have additional features that exceed FEMA requirements. Our shelters also comply with ANSI ICC 500 standards.
Can your shelters withstand an EF-5 tornado?
Yes, our shelters have been designed and manufactured with the strongest materials in order to withstand the force of an EF-5 tornado. They have been tested and approved by the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech University. Our units exceed the standards required by FEMA 320/361 and ANSI ICC 500 guidelines for the construction of tornado shelters and safe rooms.
What is the warranty on your tornado shelters?
We have a lifetime warranty that guarantees our shelters to be free from defects in material and workmanship. This does not include paint or optional items. The warranty applies to the original owner of the unit and it not transferable. The warranty for the door handles that we install on our shelters is 5 years.
Where are your shelters manufactured?
From start to finish, we fabricate and manufacture our shelters in our own facility in Decatur, AL
Why do I need a storm shelter if my house already has a basement?
A basement does not offer the same protection against flying debris that our storm shelters do. The sheer force of a tornado, can rip through walls, tear through flooring and framing, knock down heavy support beams, and collapse the structure of the house. This can cause debris to dangerously fall directly into a basement area and injure its occupants. Our shelters keep occupants protected and covered from debris impact.
The shelters we manufacture have been successfully tested at the National Wind Institute to withstand an EF5 tornado. They also exceed the standards required by FEMA 320/361 and ANSI ICC 500 guidelines for the construction of Tornado shelters and safe rooms.
Do I have to pay a deposit before having my storm shelter constructed?
Yes, a down-payment is required in order to get you placed "in line" on our shelter production schedule. $500.00 is the standard amount given as a shelter down-payment.
Will a cellphone work inside the shelter?
Usually, depending on how good your cell-phone coverage is in your area. You may experience reduced signal-strength from what you would normally have inside your home. But typically you would still have sufficient enough signal strength to make and receive calls.
I'm moving, can I take my shelter with me?
Absolutely, the shelters that we manufacture can be transferred to a new location. The heavy-duty anchors inside the unit can be removed, then the unit loaded onto a truck and installed professionally at your new location. This is something that you could have us to do for you at a reasonable cost, depending upon the distance of the move and any logistical considerations for where the unit will be placed.
Can the shelter be placed against a wall?
Yes, the unit can be placed against an interior wall, like that found inside a garage or carport.
How do I increase airflow in my shelter?
For little cost we can sell you an optional battery-powered fan, and will install it for free. Also, you could plug in an extension cord to a nearby outlet, pull it through the provided air vents inside the unit, and then plug in your own electric fan.