Give Me Shelter: Weather Violence Increasing Demand for Safe Rooms


Danny Horwitz of SmartSafe Tornado Shelters guides the steel-reinforced safe room into the hole in a customer's garage floor in Moore, Okla., Thursday, March 18, 2004. More than 12,600 people called a hotline last October to register for about $3 million in federal rebates for the construction of safe rooms and storm shelters. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Many people in the midwest have grown up with a storm shelter or storm cellar available. A storm shelter should be built close enough to the home for fast access but far enough away so that the house cannot fall on it. The main door should be mounted at an angle allowing debris to blow up and over the door and not blocking it. The walls are typically made of concrete or blocks faced with cement and rebar and with adequate ventilation. Underground septic tanks are also being used as safe rooms and are modified with a steel door and vents. All of these shelters should be outfitted with battery-powered lamps, radios, water, supplies and a portable toilet.

There are other options as well, which is fortunate for those not only who live in the areas where the high water table prevents underground fortification but also for those in mobile homes or those unable or unwilling to fortify an interior room. One of the options is a monolithic concrete dome. An arch is stronger than a square shape when it comes to going up against the elements.

It was in the late 70’s when fuel shortages had the country waiting in line for gas, that David Pressler realized the future need to live independently of fossil fuel. Pressler, having served in the United States Air Force was now working for his dad at DRD Enterprises and was a Miami Dade Firefighter. Living in the back country of Loxahatchee, Florida with his young family, he made plans to build a super insulated home. He knew to make it earth-bermed and to design an arched monolithic concrete structure, not unlike an upside down swimming pool, strong enough to hold the weight of the dirt and elements. The completed structure was to be two stories with the master bedroom on the second floor and two bedrooms below with an open floor plan.

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Posted by on May 1st, 2012 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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