Underground Storm Shelters Blanchard
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 everybody in Oklahoma had the room to put in a septic tank shelter. People had very, very limited choices related to protecting their families from tornadoes. At that time, underground storm shelters in Blanchard 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, inside their home for tornado protection. Homes throughout Blanchard were installing these underground storm shelters to protect themselves.
This was a good 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. A number of these underground storm shelters in Blanchard weren’t installed properly and have actually floated up from 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 offer our Blanchard customers peace of mind and provide them with the maximum probability of survival in an EF5 tornado.
Through extensive research, we identified vacuum, air pressure, and debris as the most destructive forces connected with tornadoes.
With possible wind speeds of 300+miles in mind, we recognized that vacuum is one of 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 ventilation for rapid equalization of pressure inside the shelter. By promoting the pressure inside of the shield to quickly equalize with the outside pressure, the secured lid system is held firmly closed.
We understood that 300+mph winds can cause enormous damage to whatever 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 below ground, it is out of the way of horizontal winds and the debris thrown and circulated by it. So the only debris to worry about is falling debris. We knew that all debris falls at the exact same speed and only mass determines its effect. Our 1/4″ plate lid is larger 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 supplied 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 give additional strength. The single-piece lid is bigger than the frame of the saferoom opening and sits above the frame, not down inside the frame.
Our lid system is a lot stronger than the normal 2-piece lid system provided by everyone 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 highly effective system for exiting with debris on the lid, and leaves Blanchard residence with the peace of mind 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 shelter performance and their option to purchase. FlatSafe continues to push for new invention and continues to push for more stringent and thorough codes to protect the families in and around Blanchard.