Underground Storm Shelters Bethany
On May 3, 1999 an EF5 tornado struck Moore, OK that had record wind speeds of over 300mph. After that 1999 tornado, we realized that not everyone in Oklahoma had the room to install a septic tank shelter. People had very, very limited choices related to protecting their families from tornadoes. At that time, underground storm shelters in Bethany were not installed in half the houses they are now.
Immediately thereafter, the first generation of this in-garage, underground storm shelters was born. This allowed for the masses to put in a shelter underground, inside their house for tornado protection. Homes throughout Bethany were installing these underground storm shelters to protect themselves.
This was a fantastic idea for sheltering people and keeping them out of the weather but it had its downfalls. It stuck up 4 to 5 inches away from the garage floor, had poor ventilation, rusted out quickly, and had steep, awkward ladders for entry and exit. A number of these underground storm shelters in Bethany weren’t installed correctly and have actually floated up out of the ground because of 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 installed in-garage to take care of the destructive forces connected with tornadoes that would give our Bethany customers peace of mind and supply them with the highest probability of survival in an EF5 tornado.
Through extensive 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 among the most damaging forces which tornadoes create. It doesn’t take much vacuum pressure, with respect to psi, to cause structural damage. To counter vacuum forces, FlatSafe designed a lid system that allows for 360o of venting for quick equalization of pressure within the shelter. By promoting the pressure inside of the shelter to quickly equalize with the outside pressure, the secured lid process is held securely closed.
We understood that 300+mph winds can cause enormous damage to anything it slams against so we sought to reduce our exposed surface area as far as possible. The patented FlatSafe lid system only sticks up 1/4″, therefore there is very little surface area affected by horizontal wind speeds.
Since FlatSafe Tornado Shelters are under ground, it is from the way of horizontal winds and the debris thrown and circulated by it. So the only debris to worry about is falling debris. We understood that all debris falls at 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 designed 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 that were available. It was also engineered with corrosion protection options to ensure that the shelter would last as long as the house and the homeowner. FlatSafe provided the original 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 provide extra strength. The single-piece lid is larger than the frame of the saferoom opening and sits above the framework, not down within the frame.
Our lid system is MUCH 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 lands 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 allow for easy entry and exit, provides a highly effective system for exiting with debris on the lid, and leaves Bethany residence with the reassurance that they have an extremely large 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 business. Several 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 invention and continues to push for more stringent and comprehensive codes to protect the families in and around Bethany.