Underground Storm Shelters Elk City
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 Elk City 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 home for tornado protection. Homes throughout Elk City were installing these underground storm shelters to protect themselves.
This was a fantastic 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. Many of these underground storm shelters in Elk City weren’t installed correctly and have really 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 involved with tornadoes that would offer our Elk City clients peace of mind and supply them with the maximum probability of survival in an EF5 tornado.
Through extensive research, we identified vacuum, air pressure, and debris as the most damaging forces involved with tornadoes.
With potential wind speeds of 300+mph in mind, we realized that vacuum is among 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 which permits 360o of venting for quick equalization of pressure inside the shield. 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 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″, so there is very little surface area affected by horizontal wind speeds.
Because 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 worry about is falling debris. We knew that all debris falls at the same speed and just mass determines its effect. Our 1/4″ plate lid is larger than the shelter opening and is reinforced to absorb and withstand any falling debris which may 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 corrosion protection options to make sure that the shelter would last as long as the house 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 provide extra strength. The single-piece lid is larger than the framework of the saferoom opening and sits over the frame, not down within the frame.
Our lid system is MUCH 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 remove from a homeowner’s usable garage floor space.
FlatSafe below ground storm shelters allow for easy entry and exit, provides a powerful system for leaving with debris on the lid, and leaves Elk City residence with the peace of mind that they have an extremely 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, under 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 invention and continues to push for more stringent and thorough codes to protect the families in the vicinity of Elk City.