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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!

I have a basement to hide in for protection if a tornado hits. Do I really need a tornado storm shelter since I have a basement?

We recently had someone pose this question: I have a basement. Won't it keep me safe and protect me from getting hurt by a tornado? Do I really need a tornado storm shelter? Don't count on it. There are all kinds of risks involved with being below ground with a whole house sitting on top of you. You aren't protected from the house caving in and all the floors above falling down on top of you. Worse yet, if a tornado is strong enough it will simply pull your belongings out of the basement and could leave it empty. That means you could go flying out with everything else. The jury is out on what the safest corner of the basement is, for those that do not have a safe room to protect themselves.  A common belief is that since most tornadoes in the U.S. travel from west-southwest to east-northeast, the southwest side of the basement is the safest place to hide out. John Park Finley, one of the first serious meteorological researchers, who studied hundreds of tornadoes in a career spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries, said you should never take refuge in the east side of a basement, and specifically warned against the northeast corner — he reasoned that debris from the house would be blown in that direction. He was incorrect. In 1966 Joe Eagleman of the University of Kansas studied the wreckage of the EF-5 Topeka tornado of that year. He concluded that if you had a full basement, the northeast corner was the safest place to be and the south side was the most dangerous. Why? External debris knocked down southern walls and blew debris in through south-facing basement windows. When the tornadic winds shifted the whole house to the northeast, the southwest corner...
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Are tornado storm shelters a good investment?

Storm shelters are a very good investment if they are built correctly and follow FEMA'S (Federal Emergency Management Agency's) specifications. The specifications were created to give you and your loved ones near absolute protection from tornadoes, thunderstorms and other weather with severe, damaging winds. Storm Shelters are built to prevent injury and gives peace of mind knowing that you have a storm shelter to rely on for the safety of you and your loved ones during the months that tornadoes are touching down. You cannot always rely on delayed sirens, or even failing radio announcements. With Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms it is a great investment with our complete DIY bolt together system. Whether you plan on living at your residence for a lifetime or moving in a few years, our system allows you to unbolt and take with you to your new home. You could ask more for your house by adding in the price of the safe room. If buyer is not willing to give what you are asking for you can easily disassemble the the unit and take it with you to your new home. If you have any questions regarding our safe rooms or any other concerns call us at our toll free number 855-55-ARMOR.
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Do you have YOUR tornado emergency plan in place?

Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes don't give you days notice of when they will hit. It is critical that an emergency plan is developed between you and your family if a tornado strikes. Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do when a tornado warning sounds. Always have an emergency kit ready-flash light, first aid kit, batteries, gloves, air horn, basic tools, etc. Also have a NOAA radio available that is specifically tuned to pick up warnings for your local area, this will minimize more frequent warnings that may not apply to you. Keep important documents in a box to carry with you to your shelter. If you have a tornado shelter always make sure that there is a clear pathway to it, and that it is easily accessible. If you don't have a storm shelter figure out the safest place in your home to hide and make sure everyone in your family knows where to meet. When the tornado has passed always exit your shelter (or other area) with caution, wear sturdy shoes or boots to protect your feet from the debris that is likely to be laying around. Watch for nails, loose drywall, and ceilings that could potentially fall. It is important to stay away from disaster areas which it may put you at further risk. When helping neighbors who may require assistance, give first aid where appropriate. If a person has stopped breathing begin CPR if you are trained to do so, if a person is bleeding apply direct pressure to the wound. Never move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger or further injury- call for help. And remember always cooperate fully with public safety officials.
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Are your tornado shelters pet friendly? What should I add to my emergency kit if I have pets?

    While there is no telling what an animal will do when he/she is stressed from a storm, we feel there is a pretty good chance you can get your furry loved one into our storm shelters with you. The biggest issue people seem to have with getting their pets into their shelters with them is finding them and then coaxing them down the stairs to their below ground storm shelters, but with our above ground design, part of the problem is eliminated. If your pet won’t follow you into the storm shelter and you can’t safely carry them into the shelter with you, the humane society has some advice to help lure them into the safe room with you. The first thing they suggest is to crate smaller animals and carry them into the shelter with you. If this isn't feasible or your animal is too large to be crated, the humane society urges you to “Do your best to train your dog to go to the area on command or to come to you on command even when there are distractions.” To avoid confusion, try using a specific command and/or treat while getting into the storm shelter. This will take practice and training, but it will be worth it. You will also want to be aware of your pets’ favorite hiding places and learn how to safely remove them from those places as quickly as possible so that you can get them into your tornado shelter with you. As far as emergency kits go, aside from all the things we recommend you keep in them for you, such as a radio, water, flashlights, etc. you should also keep a collar, a leash, copies of vaccinations, pet food, water, treats, something to comfort them (like a favorite toy or blanket,) and...
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Are you protected from tornadoes because of where you live? Are you in a valley or next to water?

Recently we were told by a passerby that she has no need for a tornado shelter because she lives in a “protected” town and will never see a tornado strike her home. Her stubborn confidence intrigued us so we decided to do a little digging on the possible credibility of this statement. We didn’t really expect to find such a large number of people that feel the same way and were surprised to find that numerous people believe they will never encounter a tornado because of “protection.” The credit for this incredible “protection” is given to natural barriers, such as hillsides, valleys and large bodies of water. Although we wish there was something that could actually protect an entire town from the devastating destruction of a tornado, there is no scientific evidence to back up this myth. And a myth is exactly what it is. There are places that are more favorable than others for tornadoes, but there is nothing that can protect an entire town from being stuck by a tornado. Tornadoes can go up and down hillsides, across mountains, across water and even form on water (known as waterspouts.) Strong tornadoes have even crossed the Mississippi River. Just because your town may have not seen a tornado yet, it is not “protected.”   However, shielding your family in an NSSA certified storm shelter from Tornado Alley Armor is a guaranteed way to keep your family protected.
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Will opening windows in my house during a tornado equalize air pressure and help minimize the destruction caused by the storm?

At Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms we occasionally get asked, "Will opening windows in my house during a tornado equalize air pressure and help minimize the destruction caused by the storm?" The answer is no. Opening windows during a tornado will do nothing for you but waste precious time that you should be using to seek shelter. Not only is there no scientific benefit to opening your windows, it allows debris to easily enter your home. Emergency procedure manuals used to recommend that people open their windows in order to help equalize the pressure in the house when the tornado hits. Before a thorough study was conducted by the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech, it was believed that homes “exploded” by the drop in air pressure when a tornado strikes a home, creating unequal pressure. This has since been proven WRONG. Houses are destroyed by the incredible wind speeds (over 250 mph) that a tornado can produce not by unequal air pressure. These winds can lift a roof off a house, causing the walls of the home to flatten, creating an illusion that the house is exploding. So, instead of wasting time opening windows use your valuable time to get into your Tornado Alley Armor Storm Shelter.
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Tornado Alley- Where is it?!

Generally, Tornado Alley is a flat stretch of land from western Texas to North Dakota. Wikipedia describes it more accurately as “a colloquial term for the area of the United States where tornadoes are most frequent. The term was first used in 1952 as the title of a research project to study severe weather in parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Although the boundaries of Tornado Alley are not clearly defined, its core is northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Some research has indicated that tornadoes are becoming more frequent in the northern parts of Tornado Alley where it reaches the Canadian prairies. There is also a secondary tornado alley in Ontario, Canada, which runs from the Great Lakes region to the upper St. Lawrence valley. It roughly follows the same route as Highway 401 from Windsor, Ontario to London, with a secondary path from Lake Huron to Barrie, Ontario and across to Ottawa, Ontario. After the U.S., Canada gets the most tornadoes in the world, and a third of those tornadoes strike Southwestern.” If you live in or near Tornado Alley and are considering a storm shelter/safe room then consider Tornado Alley Armor. We've done our homework when it comes to tornadoes and your safety. So come check out why WE’RE THE BEST! J  
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Why are tornado shelters being sold in big box stores & other home improvement stores?

We recently had someone ask us, "Why are stores like Lowe's and Home Depot selling tornado shelters? Big box stores and other home improvement stores seem to be pushing them but are they good ones? Do these stores have knowledgeable sales people to help customers?" Tornado Alley Armor's answer: Some big box retail chains are starting to carry tornado storm shelters, but can you trust them? One would think that if you see something like a tornado shelter for sale in a big box store like Lowe's Home Improvement or Home Depot that you would be able to trust that it is strong and can withstand F-5 tornadoes, simply because it is for sale there. Well, we have found that in general, just because an item is for sale in a store it doesn't mean that it is a quality product or that it will live up to its claims. And getting knowledgeable help from a big box store employee? Are they trained specifically about that tornado shelter? Tornado shelter safety is a full time position itself. If the tornado safe room company is a member of the NSSA then you will know you’re on the right track. They have had an independent verification of their design checking for FEMA compliance. But, that doesn't mean the storm shelter will have all the features possible, or that you won’t get pummeled with debris when things start blowing around outside. We have noticed that there are a few safe rooms for sale in big box stores that have very large air gaps in and beside the doors which will allow debris to blow in and impale you while you are riding out the tornado. IF YOU CAN SEE OUTSIDE THE SAFE ROOM FROM THE INSIDE WITH THE DOOR CLOSED YOU ARE NOT FULLY...
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Recent Comments
Guest — francesbrashears
I live in Tn..do you service here for I am very interested.
Thursday, 06 April 2017 12:12 AM
Leslie
Yes, we sure do! If you'd like to email us with the size of safe room you are interested in along with your address we can provide
Thursday, 06 April 2017 1:01 AM
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I can never remember the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado watch. Which one is worse and when should I seek shelter?

I can never remember the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado watch. Which one is worse and when should I seek shelter? This is an excellent question! A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms that are capable of producing tornadoes. This does not mean any tornadoes have been sighted yet and can cover large areas, even multiple states at a time. You can go about life as you normally do, just being more aware of the weather. This would be an excellent time to get your emergency supplies, such as candles, flashlights, radios, etc. nearby so that you have them in case it turns from a watch to a warning. A tornado warning means that a tornado is occurring or imminent and you should seek shelter as soon as possible. Warnings usually cover only one or two counties at a time. There is a third option that is rarely used called a tornado emergency. A tornado emergency is like an upgraded tornado warning. When you hear tornado emergency, you should expect a violent tornado that will cause severe destruction.  An easy way to remember is that during a tornado watch, they are just watching for the possibility of a tornado, but during a tornado warning, they are warning you that one may be headed towards you and to seek shelter immediately, preferably in your Tornado Alley Armor Storm Shelter. =)
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Are tornado storm shelters waterproof?

Are storm shelters waterproof?   While there are no large holes or gaps in our tornado shelters, they cannot be “water proof.” Neither above ground or below ground shelters can guarantee that water will not get inside because every shelter has some kind of ventilation. This makes it impossible to keep out moisture, sometimes resulting in a damp storm shelter. However, our storm shelters have a powder coated finish, which means they are designed for the outdoors, but they are still not 100% water proof. When a customer is looking to put their tornado shelter outside their home without any kind of covering, we recommend upgrading to our weatherizing options. The first option we have is to add weather stripping. This will help prevent water from coming in where the panels meet up and where the bolts are placed. The second option we have is to add our 22 gauge shed roof. This roof does not add any more structural support, but it will help prevent rain from falling directly onto your tornado shelter. The prices for these options will vary depending on the size of safe room you choose, but all prices can be found on our website in our online store. Please feel free to give us a call toll free at 1.855.552.7667 or stop by one of our locations if you have any other questions!
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I have a ceramic tile floor inside my home and want to have a tornado storm shelter installed on top of it. I want a bolt together above ground steel safe room. Can this be done?

Q: I have a ceramic tile floor inside my home and want to have a tornado storm shelter installed on top of it. I want a bolt together above ground steel safe room. Can this be done? A: Great question! As long as your tile floor has a standard reinforced slab underneath it we can do it! At Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms we can anchor right through your existing ceramic tile floor without having to pull it up or put cracks in your tile floor. We drill through the existing tile and into the concrete reinforced slab underneath to anchor your storm shelter. The anchors install right through the tile and into the slab underneath.   Here are a few pictures of a recent installation we provided in Arlington, TX. Jim was nice enough to pose for a photo with his 3 adult Champion safe room after we finished installing his safe room. Questions? Give us a call toll free at 855-55-ARMOR or send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  
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Can I have an above ground storm shelter if I live in a manufactured or raised foundation home?

  Have you ever thought to yourself “I would like to own one, but do I have the right set up to attach it to?” If you have, the answer is yes you can!  According to the size of safe room you want, pour a separate reinforced concrete slab at least 4 inches thick and containing 3 ½ cubic yards of concrete with either rebar or post tension cable to anchor down our safe room to. You can own your very own above ground tornado shelter. Helpful Tip- When picking a place to put your storm shelter keep in mind you want to stay out of the storm as much as possible. Storms can produce all kinds of dangers like high winds which can have debris or falling limbs from above, hail, & lightning. Pick a spot like right outside the back door on a patio so that you are at minimal exposure to the weather conditions and keep a clear pathway to your storm shelter so that you are able to get to your shelter quickly and easily. We also have weather control protection for all of our units that will be outside that include a shed roof and weather control to keep those rainy days off and out of our storm shelters. Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect what matters, the lives of you and your family. Give us a call today toll free at 855-55-ARMOR or visit us online at www.tornadoalleyarmor.com.    
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Family Safety and Home Defense

What comes to mind when you think about home defense and family safety? Most people would think about firearms and security systems…and maybe even a guard dog or two, right? Well one option that a lot of people don’t think about is a panic room/safe room. What is it exactly? Most security experts use the phrase Safe Room rather than Panic Room to describe the concept of having an ultra-secure location within a residence. The concept is simple…prepare a room within the interior of the home where the family can safely retreat during a home invasion or other terrorist threat and call for help. Yes, that’s right; you can use your cell phone to call for help inside Tornado Alley Armor safe rooms! You’ll have just as much cell phone reception inside our safe rooms as you would standing outside of it. Most other tornado shelters are not capable of that. They have to have a landline installed inside the safe room in order to call for help. Another advantage, and probably the most important, is that it serves as a storm shelter capable of withstanding a category F5 tornado! WOW! That’s right, our safe rooms have been tested to withstand the devastating attacks of an F5 tornado…and even bullets fired from conventional hand guns and rifles! Now that’s one tough safe room. But don’t take my word for it. Do the research and find out for yourself. Any questions? Give us a call toll free at 855-552-7667.
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National Storm Shelter Company opens new Showroom in Dallas, Texas to view Tornado Shelters up close and personal!

  Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms has just opened a 2nd tornado storm shelter showroom so that you can inspect our safe room displays in person! Announcing the opening of our Richardson, TX safe room showroom serving all of the Dallas area and beyond... into the entire great state of Texas. We're located at 630 S. Central Expy in Richardson. Call for directions (469-429-7889) or visit the "locations" tab on our homepage: http://www.tornadoalleyarmor.com/locations/dallas/richardson-tx-showroom. This is not a franchise. Our headquarters are in Tulsa, OK and up until now we have run everything from that location, even our sales and installations in the Dallas area. We now offer a showroom in Richardson where our customers can more easily see our fantastic bolt together safe rooms on display, place their order, and even set up delivery/installation.
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Can I use my income tax refund to help pay for a storm shelter, safe room, or tornado shelter? Even as a down payment?

Yes! An income tax refund from the IRS is an easy way to help pay for your tornado safe room shelter purchase.  Your tax refund will give you a head start on the process, and if you are an early filer you could most likely have your storm room installed before the storm season arrives! If you getting a refund and your tax returns are sent to the IRS in January it’s very likely you’ll  receive your refund in as little as two weeks with electronic direct deposit. Checks may take a little longer to receive.  Also, many banks and credit unions offer Refund Anticipation Checks (or equivalent Refund Anticipation Cards), also known as RAC’s, which allow you to receive your refund right away….a great way to get your safe room order started early in the year, before the big springtime purchasing season arrives. You’ll have your tornado shelter installed and ready to use before the season even starts, which can be as early as February. If your tax refund is enough to cover the entire cost of the safe room, congratulations! However, for those refunds that aren’t enough to fully pay for your safe room purchase, Oklahoma Central Credit Union offers an incredibly low 0.99% APR financing term on safe room loans. For those who otherwise may not qualify for a safe room loan, the combination of a Refund Anticipation Check along with a low interest loan may be your best opportunity to purchase a safe room for your family. And the best part is that you don’t have to wait for the loan and refund to be finalized! As soon as the financial institution notifies us that you’ve been approved for a RAC and/or safe room loan, you can order your safe room! Have questions? Call us toll free...
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Is it possible to have an electrical outlet in a tornado shelter? We have a child with medical issues that needs access to his machine.

Q: I have a child that sometimes needs access to electrical power to plug in his machine for treatments. I'd like a tornado shelter with an electrical plug in, and we live in the Oklahoma City, OK area.  Is this possible? A: Yes it is! We occasionally have tornado shelter customers ask us if it's possible to have electric run inside their safe room, and the answer is YES! Obviously, if the storm gets strong enough power will be lost and anything electrical won't work. But, sometimes it's nice to have a plug-in while it lasts. We offer a 100v power outlet as an option on our website. It is a weatherproof two-outlet receptacle for power inside your safe room. The power cord plugs into any existing outlet near the tornado shelter, allowing for safe disconnect. Coaxial cable or CAT5 connections for your hard drives are also available. Have a special need but don't find it on our website? Give us a call and we'll see what we can do to help! 855-55-ARMOR. www.tornadoalleyarmor.com
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Where can I buy a DIY Tornado Shelter kit? I'm looking for a bolt together style storm shelter to put in my closet.

You can purchase a Do It Yourself Bolt Together Safe Room, Tornado Shelter or above ground Storm Shelter kit that also has a professional installation option right here at Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms. 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. You can’t do that with an underground cellar or garage floor storm shelter. Don’t worry about leaving it behind and having to purchase a new one, you’ll own this tornado shelter forever because it can easily move when you do!     www.tornadoalleyarmor.com toll free 855-552-7667
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Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms is opening a tornado storm shelter showroom in Dallas, Texas!

Coming soon! Tornado Alley Armor is opening a brand new showroom in the Dallas, TX area January 2015! While we do sell, ship, and install nationwide already and are in 25 states you'll now be able to stop by our new showroom in the Dallas area to check out our safe rooms in person, without making a drive to Tulsa, OK. This will be convenient to people living in Allen, Plano, Richardson, Carollton, Farmers Branch, Addison, University Park, Ft Worth, Coppell, Richland Hills,  Grapevine, Euless, Southlake, Flower Mound, Lewisville, Irving and many more, The new showroom will be on the south bound access road of Hwy 75 in Richardson, Texas. The exact address is: 630 South Central Expy Richardson, Texas 75080 Driving directions: We'll be located on Hwy 75 Southbound Service Road, between Main St and West Spring Valley Road, across the highway from Pappadeaux and Pappasito's Cantina. From Hwy 75 take the Spring Valley Road Exit 23 for southbound lanes or Belt Line Rd /Main St. Exit 24 for northbound lanes.C   Click below for some interesting Texas tornado facts: http://www.tornadoalleyarmor.com/contact/dallas/texas-tornado-facts
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Over 50 years of tornadoes across the United States

This brightly glowing map shows the tornadoes that have touched down in the United States since 1956. Notice how strong they are in Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.   Made by John Nelson with data from NOAA, this map shows every tornado as a line, which marks the path of the storm. The brightness of the lines corresponds to each twister’s Fujita scale, which is one way of measuring how intense it is. It's remarkable to look at this map and see how much of the U.S. has been hit. Given how tornadoes are becoming more frequent and more deadly isn't it time you protected your family with a safe room from Tornado Alley Armor? Check us out at www.tornadoalleyarmor.com and give us a call if you have any questions. 855-552-7667.
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If there's a tornado, why won't the tornado shelter blow away in the wind just like my house which is sitting on a concrete slab?

Q: How is it that a house will be ripped off the concrete slab foundation but a tornado shelter won't? A: Houses lift off their slabs because they’re made of wood & brick and anchored every 4 feet or so. They are not designed to withstand EF-5 250 mpg winds like a safe room. Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms are made of tempered steel and anchored no more than every 10” around the entire perimeter. The slabs always stay behind because they have enough mass and a low profile, and a safe room is engineered with enough anchors to provide hold down and shear resistance that is orders of magnitude greater than maximum EF5 forces. There is a mountain of evidence online documenting the level of safety of above ground safe rooms, and verifying they are just as safe as anything below ground. If a safe room is built by a National Storm Shelter Association Producer Member, all aspects of the design, construction, documentation, installation and quality control measures have been independently verified to meet or exceed FEMA, ICC-500 and NSSA design recommendations. Other associations or non-associated producers don’t offer that level of compliance verification. Thanks for your question!
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Recent Comments
Guest — Kangdae Seo
Reading your blog is just enlightening. I had no idea that there is so much documentation about the safety levels of "above ground
Sunday, 19 October 2014 2:02 AM
Guest — Beachgirl
I am interested in a tornado shelter and live in Minnesota. Which is safest? One of my grand daughters was at her other grandmothe
Friday, 17 March 2017 1:01 AM
Leslie
All Tornado Alley Armor safe rooms are built to the same NSSA standards and are capable of withstanding EF-5 tornadoes. You might
Friday, 17 March 2017 8:08 PM
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