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Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms AwesomeBlog!

Your Comprehensive Guide to Severe Weather Protection! Safe Rooms, Tornado Storm Shelters, FEMA Standards & Grant Programs, National Storm Shelter Association News, Site Selection, Installation Guides, Tips from the Pros....and more!

This is how easy it is to DIY your Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room using a Rotary Hammer


Thinking of doing it yourself but not sure about the anchoring part? Here's a quick video that demonstrates just how easy it is to drill your reinforced slab foundation with the right tools. We recommend using a right angle rotary hammer. It makes quick work of the anchoring. We use a Shop-Vac at the same time to keep any dust from the concrete from settling back in the holes. For more videos and examples visit our YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/TornadoAlleyArmor.    
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Do I need to add upgrades to Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms?

If your Tornado Alley Armor above ground storm shelters are EF-5 certified, what's the purpose of the "Secondary Steel" and "Fort Knox panels?"  And if one were to select one of these safe room options here, "Secondary Steel" and "Fort Knox panels," what would be your recommendation? They serve the same function as side collision air curtains, crash avoidance systems, anti-lock brakes, etc in vehicles….not required, but they add to your level of safety. The base unit with no structural upgrades is F5 rated and built to meet or exceed FEMA-320 recommendations. Upgrades to the structure are roughly analogous to side air bags, anti-lock brakes, crash avoidance systems, etc in a car…nice to be sure and they maximize your odds of avoiding injury, but they’re not required. It’s a cost/benefit analysis of maximizing your protection. For those with heightened respect for tornadoes, those who tend to opt for upgrades when available, the Ft Knox and/or Secondary Steel ribs are an attractive option to maximize their level of protection. Give us a call, we’ll get your safe room needs figured out and get you on our list. 855-55-ARMOR or email through our website at www.tornadoalleyarmor.com.   Thanks for your question Paul!
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Can you install your above ground storm shelters in a closet, den, bedroom, or office?

I want to buy a tornado shelter but don’t want to have to put it in the garage or outdoors. Do you have any other options? We sure do! As long as your house is on a standard reinforced slab foundation we can install your above ground storm shelter in any room that has at least the dimensions of the Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room that you pick out. Just an example: We had some customers that wanted to put their above ground tornado shelter in the spare bedroom closet but the closet was actually 1 inch too wide and too deep. By taking out the sheetrock they ended up with the exact dimensions of our Defender 5 adult safe room and we were able to install it there. We’ve installed lots of our safe rooms in lots of different areas indoors. You may want to consider a computer room, spare bedroom, den, walk-in closet, hall closet, or even your living room. Sometimes the existing door of a closet lines up just right to our safe room door, and sometimes the closet door needs to be widened. If you’re unsure about our storm shelter being able to fit in your space feel free to give us a call and we can help. You don’t have to be in the Tulsa, OK area to do this. We’ve had people as far away as New York, Alabama, Ohio, and Texas email sketches, send pictures, and include measurements and were able to accomplish getting their storm shelter in the space they wanted without having to see it in person first. Want to look into it? Give us a call toll free at 855-55-ARMOR or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can come up with a solution together.   Here’s a link to our Facebook...
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Metro Safe Room Rebate Program for the 4 Metro Counties (Collin, Dallas, Denton, or Tarrant) in North Central Texas

    Tornado Alley Armor has had some calls and questions concerning the FEMA Safe Room Rebate program going on in the 4 metro counties in Texas.  Tornado Alley Armor is a Producer Member of the NSSA and an approved supplier from which to buy your safe room. Applicants cannot enter into a contract or have a safe room installed until after approved. This is from the North Central Texas Council of Governments website found at https://saferoom.nctcog.org/Aboutus.aspx We are not accepting applications at this time. North Central Texas residents living or developing in one of the four metro counties (Collin, Dallas, Denton, or Tarrant) may qualify to receive half the cost of construction for an individual safe room, up to $3,000. The Safe Room Rebates are funded with FEMA supplied mitigation grants administered by NCTCOG. NCTCOG will be applying for future funding to expand the program to all 16 counties in the NCTCOG region. Applicants who wish to receive the reimbursement cannot build until they have received a notification that they have been selected for an award, and then they may proceed with selecting a vendor and installing a safe room. To participate, applicants must meet the following criteria: · Must be living or developing in one of the four participating counties listed above · Must NOT be living or developing in a 100 year floodplain (FEMA Flood Zone A) or listed in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) · Must contract with a National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA), such as Tornado Alley Armor, or ASTA certified supplier (once approved) Since this rebate program uses Federal funds, NCTCOG is required by federal law to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The purpose of the Section 106 consultation process is for Federal agencies to take into...
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Feedback from Tornado Alley Armor Customers about their Above Ground Safe Room

                        We'd like to share the feedback we received from some customers of ours. It's always nice to have input after installation of one of our storm shelters. Name Don K. and Gwyn W. Message We were very pleased with the product and the service. I had researched many companies to find the right product for our needs and the Armor safe room fit all our requirements and more. Having been through several close calls in my life, I know the importance of having a shelter in doors. There are so many sad stories of folks who wait too long and never reach their shelter outside the home. For me, it just makes sense that it needs to be in the home as one does not want to spend any more time in it than needed. Plus, the panel design is great if the door gets blocked with something, one can still get out by taking out another panel from inside. Thanks for your prompt installation and explaining all the features to my spouse. We both rest easier now that we can be assured that we have a safe place to go to with our young son and pets. Thanks again for a fantastic and well designed shelter!       CUSTOMER RATINGS 1(worst) - 7(Best) Design and Quality   7   Price   7   Website   7   Helpful Sales Staff   7   On Time Delivery   7   Documents   7   Installer   7   Final Product   7 Support after sale     7 www.tornadoalleyarmor.com or Toll Free 855-55-ARMOR
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Comparing Underground Storm Shelters to Above Ground Safe Rooms

Q: I'm trying to decide between buying an underground tornado cellar or an above ground storm shelter. Can you help me compare? A: When considering underground storm cellars I highly recommend that you take 5 minutes to look at this information about in-floor shelters before committing to go that route. There are many unintended hazards associated with those designs, which are outlined in the link, and they forget to mention in their sales presentations. All information in the link is documented. http://www.tornadoalleyarmor.com/above-ground-or-below-ground That’s why we do one thing, above ground panelized steel safe rooms, and we do it better than anyone in the industry. We can prove it. Take a look at these comparisons on our website, clicking each of the 20 reasons why we’re better than any other design or manufacturer out there. It’ll be the most informative and educational 5 minutes you’ll find on the ins and outs of severe weather protection. http://www.tornadoalleyarmor.com/why-taa If you’re still not convinced, thanks for your time. Oh, and there are two three additional advantages! 1) bullet resistant to all conventional hand gun and hunting rounds; 2) you can make cell phone calls from inside, believe it or not; and 3) you can install our safe rooms any time after the slab is poured and after the home is complete. If you allow the footprint in your design, we can build it in the space regardless of location in the home. Builders absolutely love our safe rooms because they don’t have to coordinate any other construction activities around our installation. We come out whenever it’s convenient for them for us to install.
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Anchoring an Above Ground Storm Shelter with Wedge Anchors- Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms

I'm looking into buying one of your tornado shelters and am curious about how they are anchored to the slab. How do you anchor your storm shelters to a slab foundation? We anchor the safe room to your reinforced slab of adequate mass and geometry by using Red Head brand wedge anchors. FEMA recommends 10” maximum spacing, our spacing is 6-10-10-6-10-10-6…you get the idea. Each anchor “officially” provides around 3500 lbs of hold down resistance and even more shear resistance. However, we installed a safe room for a Mechanical Engineer from Hilti ( one of the world leaders in bolting and anchoring fasteners), and he told us they and other manufacturers use a safety factor of 13 when publishing their spec sheets. So in reality, each bolt literally provides about 50k lbs of hold down before it fails, and the number of bolts in your storm shelter is determined by the size you order. FIY- after all the hysteria and shrill reporting calmed down in Moore, investigations confirmed that ALL safe rooms and storm shelters in the storm’s path withstood the tornado and there wasn’t a single fatality or injury to anyone in a shelter. For more information visit www.tornadoalleyarmor.com or call toll free 855-55-ARMOR
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Where is the ventilation inside your above ground safe rooms? Are there air vents for breathing in your tornado storm shelters?

I'm claustrophobic and concerned about being able to get fresh air and being able to breathe while inside a Tornado Alley Armor above ground storm shelter. Where are the vents and how does that work?   We have two methods of ventilation in our tornado shelters. The first is primarily ornamental, for folks who want to see something that looks like ventilation. It’s a grid punched in the lower portion of the door, covered by a protective shield bolted to the door. It provides enough air supply for 3-4 occupants. The real ventilation is a ¼” “S”-path gap around the entire door perimeter. The door frame has a flange that protrudes out, and the door had a flange that faces inward. The door overlaps the frame when closed, creating a ¼” path where air can flow freely around the path but debris can’t. It also creates a soothing glow of outside light around the door perimeter when you’re latched securely inside. That winding path is referred to as a “torturous path”, and the gap provides enough ventilation for 20 additional people indefinitely, so no one has to take turns breathing.    ;-) For our larger units, we simply add a second door or perforated and shielded wall panels. Give us a call if you have any questions. We'd love to hear from you! www.tornadoalleyarmor.com                                  855-55-ARMOR
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Guest — maison neuve
It was nice to know about these two new methods of ventilation here and also about the tornado shelters.
Saturday, 24 August 2013 10:10 AM
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Moore Oklahoma Tornado May 20, 2013

Our hearts go out to the people of Moore, OK who were attacked by a devasting EF4 tornado earlier today. It breaks our hearts to think of what those families are going through... some still trying to find their loved ones. We at Tornado Alley Armor express our deepest sympathy for the families and the lives lost in Moore. God Bless you all.
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Guest — E. J.
I made a mistake when rating this blog. Too large finger tips = error on rating. This is a 5 STAR BLOG, as are the rest. Once I re
Thursday, 23 May 2013 11:11 AM
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Tornadoes Tear Through Oklahoma, Kansas And Iowa… Leaving Shawnee, OK Devastated

  The tornado that tore through Shawnee, Oklahoma on 5-19-13 has left at least one dead and much destruction. This isn’t too far from home for Tornado Alley Armor. Sometimes it takes something like this hitting close to home to bring things into perspective. Please have a safe place planned out ahead of time that you can go to for protection from severe weather like what happened in Oklahoma today.  If you don’t have a safe room to protect your family then please put a plan in place of the safest place for you and your family so you can be prepared. Spring isn’t over yet, and as we’re finding out tornadoes now happen all year long. Stay safe!  
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Tornadoes Rip through Granbury,Texas

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Northern Texas, especially Granbury, TX where they were hit so hard by the tornadoes that ripped through the area last night. Spring isn't over yet. May is the peak month for tornadoes and June has almost as many tornadoes on average as April. Even if you don't have a Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room please have a plan of action for your family when severe weather strikes near you. The National Weather Service’s Dallas-Fort Worth office announced at least ten tornadoes touched ground across Texas on Wednesday evening according to Mark Fox, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dallas-Fort Worth. Be careful in planning your safe place and always be prepared to take shelter because these storms can pop up with such a short notice. Some witnesses have said the tornado that swept through Johnson County may have been as much as a mile wide. While that twister that hit Granbury was smaller, it struck a more populated area and was just as destructive. Prayers going out for the families in Granbury, TX and what they are going through.
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I'm Getting a FEMA Rebate for a Storm Shelter. Why does FEMA Require it be from a Safe Room Company that’s in the NSSA in Order to Get My Rebate?

I live in Grayson County in Sherman, Texas and have been chosen by FEMA to get a rebate on a Safe Room. Why does it matter who I buy it from? Basically it’s because the tornado shelter industry is unregulated and anyone can make storm shelters and say anything they want about it. Notice how many septic tank companies have joined the bandwagon and turned them into underground tornado shelters? The only way to know who to trust is by relying on the National Storm Shelter Association to give you guidance.  You can find their website here: http://www.nssa.cc/Origins.php. To qualify for Producer Member status in the NSSA shelter manufacturers must comply with FEMA 320 for storm shelters and have their designs and engineering calculations verified by a third party engineering company to be in compliance with the standard. The International Code Council (ICC) and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) developed a national consensus standard to be accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ICC-500 is the ICC/NSSA Standard for Design and Construction of Storm Shelters. NSSA Membership is recommended and encouraged by meteorologists and weather professionals everywhere because it is the trusted and established authority on severe weather safety. The professionals at the NSSA are the same people who worked with FEMA to develop safe room design guidelines found in FEMA 320, FEMA 360 & FEMA 361, including the impact testing conducted at Texas Tech University's Wind Science and Engineering Research Center in Lubbock, TX. The primary purpose of the NSSA is to ensure the highest quality of manufactured and constructed storm shelters for protecting people from injury or loss of life from the effects of tornadoes, hurricanes and other devastating natural disasters. The association is self-policing for the storm shelter industry. This is why FEMA relies on the...
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Guest — Nancy
How do you get chosen by FEMA for a rebate?Nancy, The city or county you live in would have to apply for funding through FEMA. Onc
Thursday, 16 May 2013 5:05 AM
Guest — Greg
Good information here. Thanks for giving us more information about the NSSA and storm shelter compliance.
Monday, 07 November 2016 3:03 AM
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Jackson, Mississippi Rated #2 out of Top Ten Tornado Cities

  The myth that tornado alley is in the Plains and Midwest states have been shattered in recent decades. Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia have all had deadly tornado outbreaks in the past few years. Of the top ten cities most likely to be hit by a tornado, Jackson, MS came in at #2. Tornado expert Dr Greg Forbes of weather.com has studied tornadoes extensively. He tracks and monitors tornadoes year-round for The Weather Channel and weather.com. Dr. Forbes is a foremost expert in his field, studying under Tetsuya Fujita, who developed the F-rating scale by which we classify tornadoes. The Dixie Alley, in the Deep South, may have the biggest risk for tornadoes. Five of the top ten cities on this list are in the Gulf Coast, or Dixie Alley, states. Jackson, MS came in at number 2. The most active months are March, April, and November. Spring isn’t the only time of year to be on the lookout for severe weather. Have a safe place to go prepared ahead of time, and prepare an emergency kit with extra clothes, shoes, flashlights, spare batteries, and even food and water. Be prepared year round with a Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room. www.tornadoalleyarmor.com or Toll Free 855-55-ARMOR  
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Storm Shelter Buyers, Beware! Misleading Safe Room Claims EXPOSED. Trust the National Storm Shelter Association to Verify.


  Dr. Ernst Kiesling, Executive Director of the National Storm Shelter Association and professor of Engineering at the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University, addressing an emergency preparedness conference in Alabama.   Dr. Kiesling admonishes the conference attendees to beware of misleading claims used by the majority of non-NSSA storm shelter and safe room manufactures, implying they have NSSA, Texas Tech or FEMA endorsements, or meet requirements which are not true or verified.   The primary function of the NSSA is to provide a process by which reputable manufacturers can be independently verified to be in compliance with all NSSA, FEMA320 and ICC-500 design standards and recommendations for safe rooms and storm shelters. Consumers who purchase a safe room with the NSSA seal can rest assured that they have purchased a safe, quality severe weather product.    
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Huntsville and Birmingham Alabama Rated #1 & #3 Tornado Cities

  Hunstville, Alabama are you aware that your town was rated #1 in top 10 of cities where homes are most likely to get hit by a tornado by Tornado expert Dr Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel and weather.com? Birmingham, Alabama was rated #3. Dr. Forbes is a foremost expert in his field, studying under Tetsuya Fujita, who developed the F-rating scale by which we classify tornadoes. Dr. Forbes gathered data from the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center between 1962-2011 and added up the areas of the tornado paths within 75 miles of the city highlighted, including the tornado damage path lengths and widths. This methodology gives a more realistic probability of a particular location getting hit by a tornado than simply by using the raw numbers of tornado that have occurred within a metro area. Huntsville lies in the Tennessee Valley, surrounded by the hills of the Cumberland Plateau. It also lies within Dixie Alley, an area which is prone to violent, long-track tornadoes. Birmingham and Tuscaloosa in 2011 are burned into the public's memory. A massive EF-4 multi-vortex tornado ripped across the region. The best way to protect your family is by having a storm shelter you can safely get to inside your home or garage. FEMA recommends you not going outside to get to a cellar, but stay inside where you’re safe from flying debris. Protect your loved ones and don’t become another statistic. Order a Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room today.www.torandoalleyarmor.com or 855-55-ARMOR.
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The Worst Week of the Year for Tornadoes

Historically speaking, this is one of the worst weeks of the year for severe weather. Experts say we shouldn't let these blue skies fool us; this is the time of year when moisture from the gulf starts meeting up with hot, dry air from the southwest. That’s when we become “Tornado Alley.” Now is the time to get prepared for tornado season by having an emergency kit that contains a battery-powered radio or TV, a flashlight, plenty of batteries and first-aid supplies. Who better to buy your storm shelter and emergency supplies from than Tornado Alley Safe Rooms? We KNOW tornadoes. The top 10 cities in order of ranking are: Huntsville, AL Jackson, MS Birmingham, AL Tuscaloosa, AL Little Rock, AR Tulsa, OK Oklahoma City, OK Atlanta, GA Wichita, KS Nashville, TN   Visit our website at www.tornadoalleyarmor.com for more information.    
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Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms on the ABC News!


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Looking for a Claustrophobia Free Above Ground Storm Shelter that is Entrapment Proof

I'm terrified of tornadoes and also claustrophobic. I need a tornado shelter that I can't get trapped in. I need more than one way out in case the door gets blocked! Tornado Alley Armor NSSA verified EF5 safe rooms bolt together and can be totally disassembled from the inside, rendering them entrapment-proof regardless of door swing. Our door swings outward so it's stronger than an inward swinging door. And no claustrophobia worries here since you can't get trapped inside our tornado shelter! We include two new wrenches (American made) with every storm shelter, zip tied inside for emergency egress. Plus Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms are totally re-locatable and fit entirely in a van or pickup bed. You’ll never have to buy another safe room… it’s truly Your Lifetime Tornado Defense. Call us at 855-55-ARMOR!  
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I Want to Buy an Above Ground Storm Shelter but am Moving Soon. Can I Take Yours With Me When I Move?

I'm looking for an above ground tornado shelter that I don't have to leave behind when I move. Can you help me?     Your storm shelter investment can travel when you do. With Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms EZ Armor, a wrench is all that’s needed to disassemble your safe room and take it with you. The individual panels are EZ to handle, EZ to move, and EZ to reassemble at your new home. No need for forklifts, contract labor or heavy duty trailers to move our tornado shelters. And underground units…you can kiss them goodbye when you leave. Make a life-long investment in your safe room...buy a Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room.   Call us at 855-55-ARMOR or visit www.tornadoalleyarmor.com for more info!
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Your Safe Room Door Swings Out. Is an Inward Swinging Door Better? What if Something Blocks the Door after a Tornado?

  Since you have an outward swinging door on your above ground storm shelters how will I get out if something gets up against the door? Thanks for the great question. We understand your concern. I get the willies myself thinking about being trapped and helpless in a tornado shelter. With virtually every other safe room on the market, the door swings inward. In theory it’s supposed to make it more difficult to have your egress blocked. But…that’s one, and only one door meaning one way in and one way out. If a car or wall or debris comes to rest against the door opening it doesn't matter which way it swings…you’re still trapped inside. Tornado Alley Armor doors swings outward, which means full contact door-to-frame protection around the entire door perimeter when debris missiles impact the door. An inward swinging door is only as strong as the hinge and latch points holding it to the frame and they must absorb the entire impact. I’ll take full perimeter impact protection any day over hinges and bolts only. With our safe room you have as many options for escape as you do panels. For instance, our Defender model 10030 has 8 panels and 1 door, giving you 9 potential escape routes. All you need to do is keep a couple of 9/16” end wrenches inside (which we provide, btw, zip tied neatly up high where little ones can’t reach them) and if the door gets blocked, you just pick any panel and it’s as simple as unbolting a few bolts to free yourself in a matter of minutes. It is absolutely entrapment proof! You can totally disassemble the entire safe room from the inside. No other safe room offers that kind of fool proof escape system. Our latch mechanism is also designed such that it...
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