Underground Storm Shelters Broken Arrow
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 space 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 Broken Arrow 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 house for tornado protection. Homes throughout Broken Arrow were installing these underground storm shelters to protect themselves.
This was a good thought for sheltering people and keeping them out of the weather but it had its downfalls. It stuck up 4 to 5 inches off 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 Broken Arrow weren’t installed properly and have actually floated up out of 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 installed in-garage to deal with the destructive forces connected with tornadoes that would give our Broken Arrow customers peace of mind and provide them with the highest probability of survival in an EF5 tornado.
Through extensive research, we identified vacuum, air pressure, and debris as the most destructive forces involved with tornadoes.
With possible wind speeds of 300+mph in mind, we realized 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 permits 360o of ventilation for quick 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 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″, so there is very little surface area affected by horizontal wind speeds.
Because FlatSafe Tornado Shelters are under ground, it’s 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 understood that all debris falls at the exact same speed and just mass determines its effect. 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 sufficient 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 rust 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 provide additional strength. The single-piece lid is bigger than the framework of the saferoom opening and sits over the framework, not down within the frame.
Our lid system is a lot stronger than the typical 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 doesn’t take away from a homeowner’s usable garage floor space.
FlatSafe below ground storm shelters permit easy entry and exit, provides a powerful system for exiting with debris onto the lid, and leaves Broken Arrow residence with the reassurance that they have a very 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, under ground storm shelters industry. Many 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 invention and continues to push for more stringent and comprehensive codes to protect the families in the vicinity of Broken Arrow.