Homemade Storm Shelters Can Create Dangers

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma –  With the threat of bad weather comes the threat of severe storms.  Time and time again, people are caught without a safe place to wait out the storms because they have homes without proper basements.

In Oklahoma, that means more people are building storm shelters and are often times trying to save money by doing it themselves.

One professional installer says people need to make sure their shelter:

  • is at least five feet deep
  • has proper ventilation
  • includes debris guards on the hatch to keep stuff from blowing in
  • needs a secondary escape
  • has walls that are at least six inches of concrete

“You could be sucked out of the ground, possibly, depending on how deep and how you really secured it,” says professional shelter builder Shannon Leatherman.

“But just throwing dirt back around (on it) is definitely is not the proper way to do that.”

FEMA actually offers rebates for some properly built shelters but thousands are rejected each year because they aren’t built properly.

Here’s more information from FEMA on “Safe Room Construction Plans” and funding.

(Original story from KFOR-TV Oklahoma City: http://norman.kfor.com/news/news/95366-tornado-week-building-your-own-storm-shelter)

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