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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!

Anchoring an Above Ground Storm Shelter with Wedge Anchors- Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms

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?

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

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

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

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'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

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.

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

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

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!

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

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 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?

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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With an Underground Storm Shelter is there a Risk of Injury During a Tornado?

With an Underground Storm Shelter is there a Risk of Injury During a Tornado?
GOING OUTSIDE TO GET INTO AN UNDERGROUND TORNADO CELLAR DRAMATICALLY INCREASES YOUR RISK OF SEVERE INJURY OR DEATH Did you know that most injuries and fatalities from tornadoes occur while people are searching for a safe haven from the violent winds and flying debris? It's a fact. As severe weather approaches, warnings to “take shelter immediately” are often disregarded as homeowners remain inside their homes to monitor the path of the storm on live televised weather alerts. It is only when their “safety comfort zone” is exceeded that the decision is made to move to an emergency shelter. Unfortunately, many times this decision is delayed until the tornado is within striking distance with its extreme wind and airborne debris...not to mention high winds, driving rain and hail. Even FEMA says they now believe you are better off staying above ground and being closer to shelter than going underground. There are just too many risks with underground shelters. Although many homes located in the path of a tornado may be severely damaged or destroyed, they still offer a significant level of safety from flying debris and high winds as the storm approaches. An indoor safe room is much safer to access than an outdoor shelter. With an above ground Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room securely anchored inside your home or garage, you and your family remain safely indoors when the decision is made to “Take Shelter Immediately!” There is no need risk injury or death from flying debris while running to an outside storm shelter. Whether anchored in a closet or in the garage, you have the added safety and assurance of knowing your home is providing additional safety from flying debris while accessing your INDOOR safe room. www.tornadoalleyarmor.com  
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I'm Comparing Above Ground Storm Shelters- What Sets One Apart From Another?

I'm Comparing Above Ground Storm Shelters- What Sets One Apart From Another?
Aren't all above ground tornado shelters pretty much the same, aside from the name?   Great question! The answer is no. Although most storm shelters are pretty comparable, Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms have lots of advantages you just don't find with other manufacturers. We are producer members of the prestigious National Storm Shelter Association, and of course are EF5 rated. One of the most important ways we differ from other manufacturers is that you absolutely CANNOT get trapped inside. Even if the door gets blocked all you have to do is take down the wrenches that we include with every safe room and start unbolting. It's that simple. Another great way we differ is that our safe rooms easily move when you do. You don't ever have to purchase another one. You can unbolt it and move it to your new home in the back of a pickup, van, trailer, etc. Check out our website for more comparisons of why Tornado Alley Armor really is Your Lifetime Tornado Defense!  
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Storm Shelter and Safe Room Concrete Slab Guidelines

Storm Shelter and Safe Room Concrete Slab Guidelines
In a previous blog we referred to a "standard reinforced concrete slab of adequate mass and geometry" for an acceptable anchoring location for safe rooms. So what the heck did we mean by that? "A STANDARD REINFORCED CONCRETE SLAB": As a general rule, if the slab you're considering is less than 40-50 years old or so, it's most likely a "standard reinforced concrete slab". The newer the slab, the higher the probability that it is of suitable construction for a safe room. That means a few things are most likely true: The slab has most likely been inspected by a building inspector during construction to ensure it meets local building codes The concrete mixture used is most likely classified as 3000# or greater test strength, which meets FEMA and NSSA recommendations The slab is most likely 4" thick or more. (Contractors often use 2x4's or 2x6's to frame in the area of a new slab pour and fill to the top of the boards) The slab most likely has rebar, 6x6 wire mesh (aka "hogwire") or post-tension cables present, which is inbedded in the slab during the slab pour At Tornado Alley Armor, we use electronic sensing devices designed specifically to detect steel embedded in concrete. It detects steel as deep as 6" below the surface of the concrete, and allows us to easily determine not only the presence of steel, but also which type of steel reinforcement was used in the slab and where it lies within the concrete. We also check the thickness of the slab. NOTE: We DO NOT do anything to compromise the integrity or warranty of post-tension cable slabs! "OF ADEQUATE MASS AND GEOMETRY": Even though the slab may qualify as "standard reinforced", it still needs to have an adequate mass, shape and configuration to effectively...
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I want to buy an above ground storm shelter but I’m scared to go inside because I'm claustrophobic

I want to buy an above ground storm shelter but I’m scared to go inside because I'm claustrophobic
  Q: How will I know I’ll be able to breathe once I’m inside the safe room with the door shut?   A: .. The vent cover you see on the Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room door covers a perforated grid rated to provide enough continuous air supply for three people. The real air supply is hidden in the door design. We engineered in a ¼” gap around the entire perimeter of the door, with the air following an “S” path to enter the safe room around the door, then reversing around the door frame flange and into the safe room. Debris cannot follow that path but the air can, and believe it or not the gap is enough to provide 24 people with air indefinitely. That, along with the wrenches we hang inside, should set your claustrophobic mind at ease. Not only will you be able to breathe easily, you will also be able to get yourself out easily if something blocks access on the side of the tornado shelter that the door is on.  All you’ll need to do is pick a panel and start unbolting…. while breathing easily the entire time!
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Can a House or Car Falling on a Storm Shelter Because of a Tornado Crush it?

Can a House or Car Falling on a Storm Shelter Because of a Tornado Crush it?
We recently had a customer ask:I really like the idea of the panels allowing for alternate escape routes. I have seen other products that have dropped a car from 40 feet to demonstrate the resilience of their rooms. I am wondering how well your products would stand up if my house collapsed down onto the room. Any info will be greatly appreciated. How crush proof are your safe rooms? Thanks Chris   To which our reply was: Chris, Great question! The mechanics involved with a house falling on a steel safe room involves minimal energy spread over a large area. There is virtually no plausible scenario where a house could even create a slight deflection in a safe room wall or roof. Our steel safe room weighs less than 1/2 the steel of a conventional safe room, yet it endured an onslaught of nine F5 missile impacts when only four were required.The other five impacts, btw, were at our request to demonstrate the real-life safety of our shelter... No smoke, no mirrors, no showboating at your expense with unnecessary steel or concrete. I'm not even addressing our many other features that make us the premier safe room on the market today. Let us know if we can help you out. You can call us at 855-55-ARMOR or go through our website at www.tornadoalleyarmor.com.
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When do I need to order a Storm Shelter to have it Installed this Spring?

When do I need to order a Storm Shelter to have it Installed this Spring?
Q: I want to buy a safe room to protect my family from severe weather. When do I need to order to have it installed this spring?     A: While most above ground safe room companies take 7-8 weeks to manufacture a storm shelter, and even longer if you order during the months of March and April, Tornado Alley Armor can have your safe room ready for pick up or installation in 3-4 weeks. That’s a really fast turnaround time for storm shelters. If you’re thinking of buying a safe room to protect your family from this spring’s unpredictable storms gives us a call today! 855-55-ARMOR  
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