Underground Storm Shelters Choctaw
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 everyone in Oklahoma had the space to install a septic tank shelter. People had very, very limited choices with respect to protecting their families from tornadoes. At that time, underground storm shelters in Choctaw 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 Choctaw 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 quickly, and had steep, awkward ladders for entry and exit. Many of these underground storm shelters in Choctaw weren’t installed correctly 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 involved with tornadoes that would offer our Choctaw customers 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 damaging forces connected with tornadoes.
With possible wind speeds of 300+mph 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 quick equalization of pressure within the shield. By boosting the pressure inside of the shelter to quickly equalize with the outside pressure, the secured lid system is held securely closed.
We understood that 300+mph winds can cause enormous 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’s very little surface area affected by horizontal wind speeds.
Since FlatSafe Tornado Shelters are below 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 knew that all debris falls at the exact same speed and just mass determines its effect. 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 designed 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 which were available. It was also engineered with rust protection options to make sure that the shelter would last as long as the home 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 added structural tubing to give extra strength. The single-piece lid is bigger than the frame of the saferoom opening and sits above the framework, 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 lands in ready-mix concrete to counteract buoyancy and floatation. The FlatSafe shelter design does not remove from a homeowner’s usable garage floor space.
FlatSafe below ground storm shelters allow for easy entry and exit, provides a highly effective system for exiting with debris onto the lid, and leaves Choctaw 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 business. Many FlatSafe shelters have taken a direct hit from an EF5 tornado and our customers rave about the shelter performance and their choice to buy. 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 Choctaw.