Underground Storm Shelters El Reno
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 put in 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 El Reno 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, in their house for tornado protection. Homes throughout El Reno 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 El Reno 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 set up in-garage to take care of the destructive forces connected with tornadoes that would offer our El Reno 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 destructive forces involved with tornadoes.
With potential wind speeds of 300+mph in mind, we recognized that vacuum is one of the most damaging forces which tornadoes create. It does not 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 rapid equalization of pressure inside the shelter. By boosting the pressure inside of the shelter to quickly equalize with the outside pressure, the secured lid system is held firmly closed.
We recognized that 300+mph winds can cause tremendous damage to anything it slams against so we sought to reduce our exposed surface area as much 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’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 effect. Our 1/4″ plate lid is larger than the shield opening and is reinforced to absorb and withstand some falling debris that might land squarely on it. We made 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 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 first single-lid design and was the first low-profile, in-garage shelter offered. The lid is 1/4″ thick steel plate with added structural tubing to give additional 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 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 does not remove from a homeowner’s usable garage floor area.
FlatSafe below ground storm shelters permit easy entry and exit, provides a powerful system for exiting with debris onto the lid, and leaves El Reno 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, below ground storm shelters industry. Several FlatSafe shelters have taken a direct hit from an EF5 tornado and our customers rave about the protector performance and their choice to purchase. FlatSafe continues to push for new innovation and continues to push for more stringent and thorough codes to protect the families in the vicinity of El Reno.