Underground Storm Shelters Altus
On May 3, 1999 an EF5 tornado struck Moore, OK that’d record wind speeds of over 300mph. After that 1999 tornado, we realized that not everybody in Oklahoma had the room to install a septic tank protector. People had very, very limited choices related to protecting their families from tornadoes. At that time, underground storm shelters in Altus were not installed in half the houses they are now.
Immediately thereafter, the first generation of the in-garage, underground storm shelters was born. This allowed for the masses to install a shelter underground, inside their home for tornado protection. Homes throughout Altus were installing these underground storm shelters to protect themselves.
This was a fantastic idea for sheltering people and keeping them from the weather but it had its downfalls. It stuck up 4 to 5 inches away from the garage floor, had poor ventilation, rusted out fast, and had steep, awkward ladders for entry and exit. Many of these underground storm shelters in Altus weren’t installed correctly and have actually floated up from the ground due to buoyancy and ground water. We took note, and made history.
In 2003, the FlatSafe Tornado Shelter was invented. We engineered our underground storm shelters, to be set up in-garage to take care of the destructive forces connected with tornadoes that would give our Altus clients peace of mind and provide them with the maximum probability of survival in an EF5 tornado.
Through instense research, we identified vacuum, air pressure, and debris as the most damaging forces connected with tornadoes.
With possible wind speeds of 300+miles in mind, we realized that vacuum is one of the most damaging forces that tornadoes create. It doesn’t take much vacuum pressure, with respect to psi, to cause structural damage. To counter vacuum forces, FlatSafe made a lid system which allows for 360o of venting for rapid equalization of pressure within the shelter. By boosting the pressure inside of the shield to quickly equalize with the outside pressure, the secured lid process is held firmly closed.
We understood that 300+mph winds can cause tremendous damage to anything it slams against so we sought to lower our exposed surface area as far as possible. The patented FlatSafe lid system only sticks up 1/4″, so there is very little surface area affected by horizontal wind speeds.
Because FlatSafe Tornado Shelters are below ground, it’s out of the way of horizontal winds and the debris thrown and circulated by it. So the only debris to be concerned about is falling debris. We understood that all debris falls at exactly the exact same speed and just mass determines its impact. Our 1/4″ plate lid is larger than the shield opening and is reinforced to absorb and withstand any falling debris that might land squarely on it. We made it to provide more than adequate ventilation (breathing) even after impact.
FlatSafe Underground Storm Shelters
The FlatSafe Tornado Shelter was engineered to meet all of the regulations and criteria which were available. It was also engineered with corrosion protection options to make sure that the shelter would last as long as the house and the homeowner. FlatSafe provided the first single-lid design and was the first low-profile, in-garage shelter given. The lid is 1/4″ thick steel plate with additional structural tubing to give additional strength. The single-piece lid is larger than the frame of the saferoom opening and sits over the framework, not down within the frame.
Our lid system is a lot stronger than the normal 2-piece lid system provided by everybody else and provides more than adequate ventilation to the occupants. FlatSafe was the first to encase shelters in ready-mix concrete to counteract buoyancy and floatation. The FlatSafe shelter design does not remove from a homeowner’s usable garage floor area.
FlatSafe below ground storm shelters permit easy entry and exit, provides a highly effective system for leaving with debris onto the lid, and leaves Altus residence with the reassurance that they have a very high probability of surviving a direct hit from an EF5 tornado.
Read Real Testimonials From Tornado Survivors
Since 2003, FlatSafe has established itself as the innovator in the in-garage, low profile, below ground storm shelters industry. Many FlatSafe shelters have taken a direct hit from an EF5 tornado and our clients rave about the protector performance and their option to purchase. FlatSafe continues to push for new innovation and continues to push for more stringent and comprehensive codes to protect the families in the vicinity of Altus.