Oklahomans Installing Storm Shelters As Season Nears

Sunday, March 16th 2014, 8:48 pm
By: News On 6

The spring storm season is just around the corner.

Last year's deadly tornados have more and more homeowners looking into storm shelters and safe rooms.

It's hard to forget the images of destroyed neighborhoods and trees wrapped around cars after the deadly tornado that ripped through Moore in May.

But in its aftermath, we found safe rooms or storm shelters still standing and residents crediting the shelters for saving their lives.

Ten months after the last outbreak that ripped across central Oklahoma, storm shelters companies across Oklahoma are working non-stop.

One Broken Arrow family is getting below-ground shelter installed in their garage.

The company that designed it, Flat Safe Storm Shelters, says it had shelters in 21 homes in Moore during last year's tornado.

All of those homes were destroyed, but Flat Safe says each shelter stayed intact.

"So there was plenty of debris and every homeowner was not only safe but they were able to get themselves out with, again, the engineered technology of our single lid design," Flat Safe's Lisa Ingram said.

Ingram said sales of storm shelters are on the rise this year. Flat Safe currently installs about 30 per day.

She said before you decide on a shelter and make that first payment, it's important to do research.

Check with the National Storm Shelter Association to see if the shelter has been rated by the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech University.

"Definitely look into it," she said. "Do your research and homework and make sure what you're buying is something that's tested and proven and can actually provide what you're buying it to offer you."

It's also important, Ingram said, to think about timing.

Because of the rising popularity, installers have developed a backlog -- in some cases, three weeks for a below-ground shelter and up to 6 weeks for an above-ground shelter.

The price for a storm shelter depends on whether you want above ground or below. Below ground could start around $2500 and go up to $4500, above-ground shelters are typically more expensive and can run as high as $5000.