Storm Dorm

Types, Installation, and Maintenance of Storm Dorms

Need for a Storm Dorm

Storm Dorms are required in states with frequent tornadoes such as Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and so on. Tornadoes with EF5 rating with extreme winds in the range of 200 miles per hour are common in these areas. The collapsed buildings and structures exert extreme pressure on the underlying structures making it impossible to recover any one. In certain cases, the storms approach at high speeds leaving little time for evacuation.

Storm Dorms have become mandatory for every family in areas with the high occurrence of storms and tornadoes. These safe houses are able to cover families before, during, and after the storms until rescue arrives. Once installed, the structures provide a quick emergency shelter in times of disasters and emergencies. People buying homes are seeing Storm Dorms as crucial as other amenities in a house. Real estate professionals recommend a Storm Dorm to increase the value of the property in the storm-struck areas.

Types of Storm Dorms

The different types of Storm Dorms are based on how they are installed and the material used to construct them. Concrete Storm Dorms, Fiberglass Storm Dorms, and Steel Storm Dorms are common types based on the material used. Based on the installation, Storm Dorms are classified into underground Storm Dorms, Garage Storm Dorms, Hillside Storm Dorms, and Flat-ground Storm Dorms.

The Storm Dorms can be bolted and unbolted if they are installed above the ground. Storm Dorms must pass the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) ratings before installation. FEMA - P320 and FEMA - P361 are the two standards that are related to the Storm Dorms and shelters. Homeowners can avail special FEMA rebates and hazard mitigation rebates if they install the Storm Dorms in their properties. The Storm Dorms also must be purchased from a licensed dealer and need to be built as per the local and city building codes.

Installation of Storm Dorm

Storm Dorms are hardened structures that pass the ASTM testing standards to withstand extreme winds (greater than 250 miles per hour) and high pressures (greater than 10000 pounds per square inch). Storm Dorms also must meet the local flooding requirements before installing. The location of an external Storm Dorm must be within the acceptable range of the property.

Storm Dorms must have doors opening inward and not outward because the door may fly out in the case of high winds. Also, when there is a lot of pressure on the container, it is easy to open an inward door rather than an outward door. Storm Dorms must have a proper ventilation system for air circulation. They are coated with gel coat for maximum endurance to elements. Underground Storm Dorms and Above the Ground Storm Dorms have different specifications and installation.

After marking the location, the installers dig the area and clear the debris. The concrete slab is poured and cut before the shelter container is bolted. Additional concrete may be poured to fix the container in place. Backfilling with dirt is not suggested as it will shift the container. The size of the Storm Dorm also determines the time taken to install it. A 4ft x 6ft container holds six to nine people and a 4ft x 8ft holds eight to twelve people. They can be installed within eight hours if all the material and labor is ready.

Maintenance of Storm Dorm

A Storm Dorm can be used as an addiitonal storage area when not in use. If you install some additional shelves or storage containers, Storm Dorm can be useful apart from using it as an emergency shelter. Annual maintenance is necessary for a Storm Dorm. The non-perishable food supplies need to be replaced every year. It is a good idea to replace the water storage if any every month.

Checking all the doors, latches, locks, ventilation for any jams or clogs is needed. Vacuuming the area or dusting is needed to keep it clean and liveable in the case of emergencies. If there are any leaks or repairs, they must be fixed immediately to avoid further damages. A Storm Dorm must be installed by a licensed professional and inspected by the city officials. The city registers the Storm Dorm with a GPS unit in order to track you to that location if a tornado strikes.

You can install electrical outlets to run lights, fans, phone or laptop chargers, and so on. Additional batteries need to replaced every year. Emergency hand crank radio is a good addition to keep you updated. If space permits, old mattresses, blankets, clothing, buckets, and toiletries can be stored there for emergency use. Storm Dorms also can be used for fun hangouts or campouts but need to be cleaned after use.

Storm Dorm Tips

Having a checklist is suggested for the Storm Dorm. Emergency mockups will help actually when a disaster strikes and everyone is in a panic mode. Emergency hand winches need to tested. The handrail can be removed when not used and can be adjusted as needed. The benches or seating inside also need to adjusted based on the number of people inside.

Storm Dorms can be installed in any room of your house or garage. Underground Storm Dorms have superior strength. Storm Dorms that are above the ground have easy accessibility. Steel Storm Dorms have good strength and can be prevented from rust by adding coatings. Concrete Storm Dorms may crack after the concrete settles and are prone to moisture. Fiberglass Storm Dorms also may rot over time and need to be checked frequently.

If you are planning for a new construction home, you need to plan the location for a Storm Dorm during the design phase itself. If a Storm Dorm is located in the garage, it is better to place it one foot away from the foundation, garage opening, water lines, electric lines, and so on. If a Storm Dorm is located on the exterior of the property, you need to have a plan how to reach to it during the emergencies. Basements are not that useful in areas where there are more tornadoes and storms. Storm Dorms are a great investment to keep residents safe during emergencies and tornadoes.

Contact expert contractors such as Olde Town Group or Olde Town Roofing if you decide to install a Storm Dorm emergency shelter on your property. Call 309-517-1676 or 309-738-5550 for setting up a storm dorm on your property.