WICHITA, Kansas – Kansans have long been told the safest place to be during a tornado is in the basement, but what happens when stairs become a challenge or a basement just isn’t an option?
“The biggest part of our population right now is the baby boomers, and they want to get away from stairs and basements,” said Tammi Hilger, Summit Realtors.
Hilger sells homes in what are known as courtyard communities. They are single level house built on concrete slabs.
“People instantly ask what do you do for storms?”
There are several options, including both in-ground and above-ground shelters outside the home.
“There are more and more people who don’t want to leave the shelter of their house, and they’d like to have a shelter in their garage,” said Dale Zogleman, Protection Shelters.
When you think about building a shelter inside your home, one of the obvious concerns would be space. but take a two car garage for example. The shelter itself fits right in the corner.
“This is our in house, in the garage is an above ground steel shelter,” said Zogleman.
This particular model is four feet by six feet and runs in the neighborhood of $4,000.
“It has 110,000 pound crush proof strength, so basically what it means is you could take the entire framework of this house, throw it on a tractor-trailer, dump in on that shelter and it wouldn’t crush it.”
He tells us that based on testing at Texas Tech University, it could withstand winds of up to 250 miles per hour.
“The nice thing about a steel storm shelter is that you can do it when you build a new home or if you think oh, I don’t want to spend the money up front, but you have a close call and think, oh I need to add a storm shelter, you can add it later,” said Tammi Hilger.
Rather than waiting for that close call, more homeowners are getting proactive by choosing in-home shelters as a way to stay safe in Kansas storms.