What is a storm shelter? Why would you ever need one? How would it benefit you? In this article I will attempt to answer these questions as well as provide some different design options.
If you live in an area known for tornadoes and violent storms with strong winds, building a storm shelter is a great way to protect you and your family. These rooms are specifically designed to withstand flying debris, and dangerous high winds. If inside you will remain safe even if your house is destroyed. Most people believe that by going into an interior room or a cellar, they will escape damage and be safe from high winds. But, even these areas were not designed to stand up to high velocity winds and the debris that it can bring.
Also remember that a storm shelter can do more than just protect you from a massive storm. It can also serve as a walk-in closet, storage room, or pantry if located within the house. It can also serve as a storage or yard shed if placed outside the home. It can also be used as a virtual vault for valuables, important documents, and expensive equipment.
Safe-rooms are designed and engineered to provide an area that is independent of the house structure (even for safe-rooms within the house) and attached (bolted) to a concrete slab. These rooms have an incredibly sturdy, impact-resistant shell that will protect you and your family from flying debris, which usually accounts for most storm related injuries and deaths.
There are many options to consider when deciding on the materials to be used in your design. You can use wood or steel, reinforced concrete blocks, poured reinforced concrete, fiberglass or welded solid steel. These materials will keep you safe inside your storm room even if your house disintegrates around you. You can build your room to fit in most basements, large garages, or outside on a concrete slab. For outside structures you will need to add a roof and siding.
Building a safe-room can provide many benefits and uses, with the main result being the protection of you and your family from dangerous storms in your area.