Sapulpa Safe Room Sales Up In Wake Of Deadly Tornados

Sunday, May 1st 2011, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

SAPULPA, Oklahoma -- The storms in the south have people all across tornado alley looking for ways to protect their homes. The phones at Jim Giles Safe Rooms in Sapulpa have been very busy this week.

Hundreds of lives were lost in seven southern states during the tornado outbreak this past week. The tragedy has homeowners wondering what they would do if a tornado is headed their way.

The images are heartbreaking and surreal. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed across the south this week and the death toll is the second highest on record from tornadoes in the United States.

Watching this, it's hard not to do I protect my home?

Rick Bradshaw is in charge of production for Jim Giles Safe Rooms in Sapulpa. The facility turns out four rooms a week, on average, but that number is about to go up because of the tragedy in the south.

"Right now they're a little bit worried after the Alabama storms," Bradshaw said.

"Most of the homes that were destroyed in Alabama were regular, wood structured homes. They were not poorly constructed," said Tom Bennett.

Bennett is a News On 6 meteorologist and general manager of Jim Giles Safe Rooms. He says each of his safe rooms has 2400 pounds of steel and built to withstand an EF-5 tornado, that's winds between 200 and 250 miles an hour.

"It's the strongest tornado possible on this planet," he said.

Bennett says the tornado outbreak in the south has homeowners looking for ways to keep their homes protected. He says before the week began it would take less than two weeks to turn around an order, but now with more calls coming in each day he expects it take closer to six weeks.

"If people are on the fence about whether to make this investment, now they're over the fence because they realize that this is an investment they need to make, because what happens in Alabama will definitely happen here in Oklahoma again at some point in time," Bennett said.

Bennett says before you order a safe room you need to make sure it has been certified with the National Storm Shelters Association. The average cost of a Jim Giles Safe Room is $5,000.