When Purchasing Safe Rooms, It's Imperative They Are Certified, Experts Say
COWETA, Oklahoma - The mayor of Moore wants to see safe-room shelters built in all new homes.
He'll put that before the Moore City Council soon.
Some are suggesting above-ground shelters won't withstand storms like Monday's.
There is no guarantee that a safe room will protect you, but experts said the key to increasing your chance of survival is to make sure your safe room is certified.
After riding out a tornado warning in a bathtub with two small kids, the Haas family decided it's time to get better prepared.
"I took them to the bathtub, and I'm like, ‘It's OK; we're going to be OK,'" Haas said. "And my little one is crying, and I'm thinking, ‘Is it really going to be OK?"
Haas said after looking at the destruction caused by the monstrous tornado that swept through Moore, she can't help but wonder if her new shelter will hold up in the same situation.
"My opinion is, it's going to be better than the tub," she said. "I would hope that they work, but you never know… unless you're actually in one."
Experts said whether you have an above-ground or below-ground shelter, it's important to make sure it's certified by the National Storm Shelter Association.
The NSSA says it offers "near absolute" protection.
"Nobody can give you 100 percent guarantee that with an EF5 the storm shelter will hold," Tulsa Partner Tim Lovell said.
So which type is safer: Above-ground or below-ground?
It all depends on your preference.
NSSA certified above-ground shelters are designed and tested to sustain EF5 winds.
Below-ground shelters can protect you from flying debris.
"That is the whole purpose of certification is to make sure that these things deliver when the winds become severe and the threat is real," said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, of Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.
Chapman-Henderson said there are plenty of cases where above-ground safe rooms saved lives during an EF5 tornado.
For example, this picture (above, right) was taken of a storm shelter standing in the wreckage after the 2011 Joplin tornado.
Another example is the Piedmont tornado from two years ago.
Either way, Haas feels you can never be too safe by having some type of protection.
When it comes to cost, both above-ground and below-ground safe rooms can range from $1,500 to $7,000.
It all depends on the type of features you have in it.