Underground Storm Shelters Guthrie
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 Guthrie 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 install a shelter underground, inside their house for tornado protection. Homes throughout Guthrie were installing these underground storm shelters to protect themselves.
This was a fantastic idea for sheltering people and keeping them out of 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 Guthrie weren’t installed properly and have really floated up out of 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 deal with the destructive forces involved with tornadoes that would give our Guthrie clients 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 damaging forces involved with tornadoes.
With possible wind speeds of 300+mph in mind, we recognized that vacuum is one of the most damaging forces that tornadoes create. It doesn’t require much vacuum pressure, with respect to psi, to cause structural damage. To counter vacuum forces, FlatSafe made a lid system which permits 360o of ventilation for quick equalization of pressure within the shelter. By promoting the pressure inside of the shelter to quickly equalize with the outside pressure, the secured lid process is held securely 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’s very little surface area affected by horizontal wind speeds.
Because 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 be concerned about is falling debris. We understood that all debris falls at exactly the exact same speed and just mass determines its impact. 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 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 corrosion protection options to ensure that the shelter would last as long as the house and the homeowner. FlatSafe provided the original single-lid design and was the first low-profile, in-garage shelter offered. 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 frame, not down within the frame.
Our lid system is a lot stronger than the normal 2-piece lid system offered 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 remove from a homeowner’s usable garage floor area.
FlatSafe below ground storm shelters allow for easy entry and exit, provides a powerful system for leaving with debris onto the lid, and leaves Guthrie residence with the reassurance 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 protector performance and their option 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 Guthrie.