tornado in oklahoma

Tornado Shelter Options in Home Design & Construction

Spring is upon us in Oklahoma and with it is inclement weather. As you consider the construction of your new home in Oklahoma, you should weigh your tornado shelter options in case of emergency.

Preferred Tornado Shelter

According to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, in the event of a tornado, the best place to be in a house is as inward as possible and as low as possible. Ideally, this means in an enclosed basement. Due to rocky soil and high water tables, this isn’t possible for many Oklahoma neighborhoods. Still, there are preferred places to take cover in your home when a tornado strikes.

Find the Lowest Point in the Event of a Tornado

Pronounced structures that catch the most amount of wind will be the most impacted by tornadic activity — whether in catching the wind or flung debris. For this reason, you should seek shelter in the lowest point of your home. Remaining on an upper level can be extremely dangerous.

Find the Most Inward Point in the Event of a Tornado

As mentioned above, structures that are the most pronounced will bear the brunt of a storm surge. This included exterior walls of your home and windows. In order to remain safe, it is recommended to seek an inward room in your house not up against the exterior of the house or exterior windows. For many, this is an inside bathroom, closet, or pantry with no windows.

Tornado Shelter Options

If your neighborhood is at a high enough elevation, building an underground on your property may be an option. These shelters are frequently built to be accessed from within a garage or possibly in the yard. If building an underground shelter is not possible, there are also above-ground shelters that can installed within your home. These shelters are also usually installed within the garage. They are typically made of steel and bolted to the foundation of the house.

Building Your Tornado Shelter Plans Into Your Home Design

If you live in an area known to receive tornados from time to time, it is crucial to have your tornado safety plan in mind in the design stage of your home. Ideally, you should be able to point to an area on the plans to your home and identify it as where your family would seek shelter in the event of a tornado. If you have questions about which room would be the safest in the event of a tornado or severe storm, ask your home building professional.

While there is no need to panic, we must all remain vigilant in keeping our families safe from severe weather. It is much better to have a safe space in your home and never need it rather than need a safe space and not have it.