More Families Building Tornado Shelters
The staggering 2011 death toll from tornadoes has some families in the South and Midwest taking an extra step to be ready for future tornado incidents, installing small residential shelters called safe rooms that can be bolted onto a garage floor or fitted into a small space like a closet.
The typically windowless rooms are made with thick steel walls and doors capable of withstanding winds as high as 250 mph, offer no light fixtures or electricity, have varying sizes, and range in price from $3,500 to $6,000.
A year after the storms, sales of small residential shelters known as safe rooms are surging across much of the nation, especially in hard-hit communities such as Montgomery and Tuscaloosa in Alabama and in Joplin, Mo., where twisters laid waste to entire neighborhoods. Manufacturers can barely keep up with demand, and some states are offering grants and other financial incentives to help pay for the added protection and peace of mind.
Read more on the prevalence of tornado shelters: Families Building Their Own Tornado Shelters (AP 4/29/12)