8 FACTS You Need To Know About Storm Shelters

  • FACT:  Since 1980, approximately 20,000 to 30,000 shelters have been built.
  • FACT:  According to the Texas Tech University a properly built, tested, and installed saferoom is effective in 99.99% of all tornadoes, including F5 tornadoes.  This has been documented and proven.
  • FACT:  Approximately 10,000 lives are saved each year due to shelters and emergency plans.  Thirty six percent (36%) of Americans do not have emergency preparedness plans.
  • FACT:  On average, 80 deaths each year are directly attributed to the approxiate 1000 tornadoes reported.
  • FACT:  An average of ten tropical cyclones reaching storm strength with six of these becoming hurricanes and two of those actually striking the coast of the U.S.
  • FACT:  Nationwide, hurricanes cause 60 injuries and an average of 17 deaths per year.
  • FACT:  Texas Tech University has been investigating tornadoes and tornado damage for over 30 years.  They have never once seen a slab with the proper footings and minimal cement requirement (such as a home slab) lifted or moved.  If air can not get under the slab, it can not lift the slab (physics).
  • FACT:  A common misconception is that a heavy vehicle may be lifted by a tornado and thrown onto an above ground shelter destroying it.  The fact is, a very few are rolled at speeds that are less than 30 mph.  According to the NOAA, which rates tornadoes for the F scale rating, the reason the Oklahoma City Tornadoes of 1999 were rated an F5 was because they found two compact cars that had been thrown over 1/4 mile away.  This was an F5, but it did not throw 50 ton trucks and train.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in cooperation with the Wind Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University, has developed specific performance criteria for tornado shelters. For more information on that performance criteria, please contact FEMA in Washington D.C. or via the FEMA web site.


  • Northwest Florida
  • Georgia
  • Alabama