Underground Storm Shelters Bixby
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 put in a septic tank protector. People had very, very limited choices related to protecting their families from tornadoes. At that time, underground storm shelters in Bixby 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 put in a shelter underground, in their house for tornado protection. Homes throughout Bixby were installing these underground storm shelters to protect themselves.
This was a fantastic thought 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. A number of these underground storm shelters in Bixby weren’t installed correctly and have really 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 set up in-garage to take care of the destructive forces connected with tornadoes that would give our Bixby clients peace of mind and supply them with the highest probability of survival in an EF5 tornado.
Through instense research, we identified vacuum, air pressure, and debris as the most destructive forces involved with tornadoes.
With potential wind speeds of 300+mph in mind, we recognized that vacuum is among the most damaging forces that tornadoes create. It doesn’t require much vacuum pressure, with regard to psi, to cause structural damage. To counter vacuum forces, FlatSafe designed a lid system that allows for 360o of ventilation for rapid equalization of pressure inside 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 recognized 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″, therefore there’s very little surface area affected by horizontal wind speeds.
Since FlatSafe Tornado Shelters are under ground, it’s from 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 the same speed and just mass determines its impact. Our 1/4″ plate lid is bigger than the shield opening and is reinforced to absorb and withstand some falling debris which may land squarely on it. We made it to provide more than adequate ventilation (breathing) even after effect.
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 rust protection options to ensure that the shelter would last as long as the home and the homeowner. FlatSafe provided the first single-lid design and was the first low-profile, in-garage shelter offered. The lid is 1/4″ thick steel plate with additional structural tubing to provide additional strength. The single-piece lid is bigger than the frame of the saferoom opening and sits over the frame, not down within the frame.
Our lid system is a lot stronger than the typical 2-piece lid system offered 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 take away from a homeowner’s usable garage floor area.
FlatSafe below ground storm shelters permit easy entry and exit, provides a powerful system for leaving with debris onto the lid, and leaves Bixby residence with the peace of mind 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 industry. Several FlatSafe shelters have taken a direct hit from an EF5 tornado and our customers rave about the shelter 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 and around Bixby.