Your In-Ground Shelter Effectively In the Event Of a Natural
Underground or in-ground shelters are literally
a lifesaver during a natural disaster. Because they are in-ground
shelters, you are protected from high winds, which cause the
vast majority of injuries during a tornado or even during severe
Injuries and fatalities are caused by blown debris,
collapsing structures and downed power lines. Have your in-ground
shelter installed and maintained by a reputable installer/contractor
to ensure the safety of your family and yourself.
In-ground shelters are for protection from natural
disasters so they must be readily accessible at all times. Obviously,
the shelter must be waterproof and large enough to accommodate
you and your family with considerations given to growth of your
family. You should also consider neighbors and friends who may
need protection along with room for emergency supplies such
as food, water, blankets and so forth. Accessibility is important
and in particular for small children, the elderly and persons
When deciding on size and amenities you should
consider what happens if your home is destroyed because of a
tornado? Can you use your shelter as temporary living space?
Some shelters are only for protection from the storm and only
have room for seated individuals and emergency supplies.
There are several ways to illuminate and heat or cool your shelter,
one way is by using generators and another is utilizing solar
power that can recharge battery packs. Carefully consider illumination,
plus heating and cooling options. Tornadoes can essentially
strike at anytime of the year, so extreme weather conditions
after the storm must be taken into account.
Connecting to the line that services your home
means that when service is interrupted to your home, your shelter
will go dark as well, so it is important that if you want or
need power to your shelter you use sources other than your local
power company. Generators must be protected and run above ground.
Start the generator before the storm strikes to save precious
Keep your shelter clean and do not use it for
storage of household goods. It is not a matter of if a storm
will strike only a matter of when, so you must be prepared at
all times. Do not allow children to use it as a playhouse or
club house or otherwise take it over. The reason being is your
emergency supplies may not be intact, or the shelter itself
will not be ready in the event of an emergency.
For a Tornado
Tornadoes unlike hurricanes cannot be tracked
by satellite imagery. Storms that generate tornadoes can however,
be tracked. Tornadoes are predicted or forecasted based on weather
conditions that can produce tornadoes. Once meteorologists indicate
the current weather conditions can produce a tornado assume
there will be one and prepare to go to your shelter. Do not
wait until you see a funnel cloud before getting into your shelter
because many storms can produce destructive straight-line winds
that can bring down trees, blow debris and collapse structures.
Tornadoes move quickly, so your emergency supplies
are not necessarily used during the storm but after. The following
is a list of supplies that will allow you to sustain life in
the days following a destructive tornado. You must be prepared
for extended power disruptions, to include an interruption or
contamination of your water source.
Adapt the list to include prescription medications
and other personal preferences but do not overload your shelter.
Keep your supplies in the shelter, and inventory every 90 days
to check for expiration dates, charged batteries and to ensure
nothing is missing. Turn off the main electrical breaker as
well as any gas valves to the home just before leaving for the
shelter. The electrical or gas system can be damaged and you
should have it inspected before reconnecting services.
Practice exiting to the shelter, and shutting
off gas valves and the main electrical breaker. Practice in
daylight as well as, in darkness. It is very easy to become
disoriented in the dark even when you are familiar with the
area. Do not place anything between the shelter and the exits
you will use to evacuate to the shelter. Keep in mind one or
more emergency exits may be covered with debris so always have
multiple exit plans, and you can even use a ground floor window.
It is important you do a head count before and after and establish
who goes into the shelter first and last. The first one in turns
on lights and the last one in secures the entrance. Once inside
do another head count.
These are the basics of using a storm shelter
for survival. Your individual list may be a bit different depending
upon your needs and the needs of your family.