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Floating Storm Shelter in Oklahoma Raises Questions about In-Gro - KOAM TV 7

Floating Storm Shelter in Oklahoma Raises Questions about In-Ground Tornado Shelters

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Why Atlas won't see in-ground shelters Why Atlas won't see in-ground shelters
Joplin, MO -    Dozens of tornadoes caused damage across several states including Oklahoma Wednesday.  But one storm shelter was out of service.  
An image captured by KOCO-TV  shows an in ground storm shelter floating in flood waters even before the tornadoes hit.

  
In Joplin, the vice president of Atlas Safe Rooms says in-ground shelters are like pools. 

John Hunter says, "It's not that odd. It's a practical reality. People experience it when they put a pool in the ground.  If  it's not full of water, if the water  tables high enough, it actually will float the pool. Well, that's the same thing with some of these storm  shelters made of fiberglass. They're not heavy enough on their own to stay in the ground, so if the water  table rises high enough, whether naturally or through  torrential downpour, it could  possibly float or pop out of the ground."


Atlas doesn't sell in ground units just above ground shelters. It's  storm shelters are  made of steel  and are anchored to a concrete slab.  
A relatively unregulated industry, it's usually the homeowner who decides where storm shelters are placed.   

hunter says, "As long as there aren't lines or something in the way. And cities are gonna have ordinances, it  can't be in the front yard,  has to be in the back yard or at least next to the house but  beyond that,  those are the things that  dictate it,  the homeowner could basically say I want it here.  Hopefully they find out when they start to dig that hole that, oh the water table is too high, we cant do that here."

 

Hunter says soil and water table issues prevent in-ground units in cities like Dallas where Atlas units are also sold.  Atlas does site visits before installing slabs for it's above ground units. 

Hunter says the most important part of a decision in buying a storm shelter is what type you will actually use and is most convenient to you. Whatever model you buy, you should look for one that has an "a-t-s-a" or "n-s-s-a seal".

  Also make sure your shelter has had impact-testing for flying debris.




 

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