Is it safe inside a metal shelter during an electrical occurrence such a lightening?
Yes. Regarding, Lightning and Steel: I have found a Google search of Faraday Cage information to be very informative. A particular YouTube viewing is also a great explanation. It can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t23iXhEiQUc&feature=related&pos=2.
The site noted above explains that when you are safe inside the steel unit, especially so with the fact that the unit we provide has a floor. You are inside of a complete steel box, a faraday cage.
If you do work with a unit that does not have a floor plate and is not having the addition of sheetrock to cover the plate walls, it is recommended to call an electrician to attach a copper wire from the unit to a grounding rod*. Typical cost to be expected runs $150-$350 depending on your location.
*This information verified by a retired electrician and offered for information purposes only. Same information is set out in the FEMA 320 guidebook when referring to units without a steel floor.
Can the SafeRoom or SafeShed unit be moved at a later time?
Yes. The Shed or Safe Room could be moved if you should ever want to. The anchor bolts can be removed by heating with a torch or grinding to remove the head of the anchor. The remaining part of the bolt is left with the slab. The unit is then lifted out of place and removed. It would need to be re-anchored correctly once moved.
What does the term “3rd party certification” mean to my family?
This term applies to an independent authority who has no monetary interest in the business operations of a shelter unit that he/she is reviewing and approving by putting their stamp upon the unit paperwork.
Are your units Engineer Stamped and reviewed?
Yes, all units are reviewed and stamped. The SafeRoom, the SafeShed, the Underground with Stair, the PorchSafe, and our FEMA 320 door for use upon concrete block and concrete poured shelters. The Mound unit is the exception although it is built similar to the Underground with Stair but without the stair entry. The stairs are within the body of the unit.
Are your units tested and recognized by Wind and Science Research at Texas Tech?
Yes. We have personally been to Texas Tech on several occasions. Our first trip was in 2005 with our SafeRoom unit built with 10 gauge steel material, channel supports, and a door that secured with a knuckle latch and drop pin locking system. TTU will pass a unit as long as it does not indent over 3” at any impact point. The 10 gauge steel indented approximately 1”- 1 ½”. (We now use 3/16 steel material in place of the 10 gauge originally tested materials for added protection). The tested door stayed closed with the locks remaining engaged.
In April 2009, we again went to TTU when we wanted to implement a triple lock system that sets with a single motion for a FEMA 320 residential use door. During this trip to TTU, we had the FEMA 320 upright door for use in SafeRoom and Hillside units tested as a swing in and a swing out door, we had our Underground with Stair (Hatch type) door tested [same type also used upon our Mound unit], and our PorchSafe Stair door. All doors implement the single turn that sets 3 locks to achieve safety during a storm occurrence. All doors passed with no difficulty.
In October 2009, we went to TTU with a FEMA 361 rated door. This door also passed testing. This door implements automatic egress for community shelters where this is required. The door is best used in combination with a more user friendly day to day door that allows this FEMA 361 door to stay open out of the way unless it is needed for a storm occurrence.
In 2011, we decided to begin offering a unit for InSlab use. The door would need to be tested for us to feel good about offering this unit. Larry Tanner of TTU called this a ‘monster’ door. This door also uses the triple lock with a single turn to secure it. We are able to build the unit that this door sets upon to a larger size for those families who prefer to have a roomier unit. However the InSlab unit is not currently being offered at this time.
What keeps the SafeRoom unit from being picked up and carried away during a storm?
It is the attachment to the concrete slab in your garage, carport, workshop, or patio by use of either a chemical anchor system or a wedge anchor system. Both are approved by our engineer stamp. Storm winds lift things when they can get beneath them. The attachment to the concrete slab anchors the unit to that slab so that the weight of the slab keeps the unit in place. The steel walls do not allow debris to penetrate and harm the occupants.
What keeps the SafeRoom unit from being crushed by falling debris?
The 3/16 steel plate gives support to the unit. We also use a 4” (C4 ) channel support system that surrounds our unit to give it added strength from things that could be dropped upon it or thrown into it.
What if the SafeRoom door is blocked by debris?
Our SafeRoom/SafeShed/Hillside doors are tested to open into the shelter or out of the shelter. Most families prefer the In swing of the door since debris does not block this door and prevent it from being opened. You should still wait for responders to arrive rather than climb over debris that could be against your door in case there is something within the debris that could cause bodily harm.
What if the Underground/Mound/PorchSafe door becomes blocked by debris?
The Underground, Mound, and Porchsafe units all have steel treads welded into place. If you keep a bottle jack inside of the unit, you can set this upon a top step and use it to lift the door enough to use a whistle or air horn to alert first responders that you are inside of your shelter and need assistance. Do not try to lift the door enough to climb out with the jack only for support of the door staying open since it could dislodge and fall back onto you while trying to exit. Wait for assistance.
How does the bunk bed option work?
The bunk option will create 2 beds; the bottom bed is 24" and is stationary, built in place.
The top bunk folds down out of way to create a back rest for the lower bench or it can rise for
another 24" bunk. 2 chains rated at 300 lbs each secure the top bunk in place when it is in use.
- recommend no more than 200 lb on top bunk at a time for safety.
Do you install out of your general area?
Yes. We do recommend that a homeowner consider getting a local backhoe operator to perform the install when it is a distance away. However, we recognize that sometimes the homeowner prefers our men on site to assist. When we are working on a project that is beyond our local area, we sell the unit at a ‘shop price’ to the homeowner plus the cost of delivery to your zip code (if over 400 miles, we do have an additional charge since it will fall into a 2 day trip easily). We have a day charge for 2 men to work with a local backhoe operator secured by the homeowner or solicited by SSS, LLC. So, the unit cost, trip cost, and men day charge are payable to SSS, LLC. The day of install, the backhoe operator charges and embedment costs are payable by the homeowner to the operator. If concrete is used, it is payable by the homeowner to the company providing this material.