tornado ripping through a field with debris

A Guide to Choosing Between Above Ground and In-Ground Storm Shelters

When you envision tornado shelter rooms in Texas, you may be envisioning the standard in-ground shelters that were traditionally used. Although in-ground shelters can be the traditional and obvious choice, they may not be the best one anymore.

Multiple instances of fatal drowning and accidents led engineers to think of a better solution — and above-ground tornado safe rooms were born! Here’s your complete guide to choosing between the two options.

Why Below-Ground Shelters Were Preferred

In-ground shelters, as obvious by the name, are shelters that are built below the ground level. These shelters were usually reinforced with steel or concrete and usually has a door that opens up like a trap door on the ground surface.

These shelters were created so that people could protect themselves from the violent winds and dangerous debris flying around during a tornado and storm. The idea was that any kind of structure above the surface would fly away or suffer terrible damage and be unsafe.

These shelters also resolved the problem of space. Since below-ground shelters were built exclusively underground, it was easy to place them anywhere and open the door wherever it was convenient.

The Problems with Below Ground Shelters

However, just because below-ground shelters were the traditional choice doesn’t mean they didn’t present problems. First of all, normal basements were often used as shelters, which is not how they work! You have to create a concrete or steel-reinforced barrier around a shelter for it to be effective.

Second, the problem of flash floods was a serious concern. Storms often accompany tornadoes, and water has seeped into shelters in the past, causing deaths. That’s why below-ground shelters are considered to be a hazard sometimes.

Last, the entranceways for in-ground shelters are usually flat on the ground’s surface, which is a hazard where tornadoes are concerned. Debris can fly around and land on the door, blocking the door and preventing people from leaving the shelter.

above ground storm shelter

Choosing Above-Ground Shelters Instead

Choosing robust above-ground shelters can address the problems and concerns addressed above, but they can also be intimidating for people to consider. The idea of having a shelter above the ground or outside the building seems like an inefficient solution.

However, above-ground storm shelters are usually bolted to the ground with industrial-grade equipment. Additionally, the above-ground shelters available on our website have passed both FEMA’s standards for shelters and rank high with the Texas Tech Impact Test.

Our steel tornado shelters in Texas have been shown to stand well against the impact of an EF-5 tornado too, which is the strongest scale by which we measure tornadoes. Additionally, we offer community storm shelters in custom dimensions to ensure your comfort and safety. Order yours today!

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