Dual-Use Safe Rooms
A room where you can store jewelry, guns, send your email–and survive 250 mph tornado winds? It’s called a storm shelter or “safe room” and is a surprisingly popular home renovation, even during downturns in the real estate market. But especially now with home sales spiking across the country. The biggest market increase has been see with more people adding storm shelters and safe rooms to the design process for their newly constructed homes.
These aren’t the dank bunkers your father hid in. Many of the new shelters are above-ground storm shelters prefabricated and installed on concrete pads inside a garage or as a stand alone in your yard, or even installed inside the home. They are prefabricated storm shelters or custom safe rooms based on your needs and often lead double lives as offices, tool sheds, or even as wine cellars in less turbulent times.
Storm Shelters for New Construction
Many home builders include safe rooms /storm shelters in new custom homes, calling it a “must-have item.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which publishes safe room construction guidelines, says that information is now the agency’s “most requested” publication. And the National Storm Shelter Association estimates U.S. storm shelters number in the low millions, most of them having been added in the last decade. And for many rural communities, it is becoming common for municipalities to install large community storm shelters for its citizens.
The aging 76 million Baby Boomers are a driving force behind much of the boom (pardon the pun) in storm shelter sales . Above-ground storm shelter designs are particularly popular among families with elderly members who might not be able to navigate stairs or make it across the yard into a bunker quickly. And recent studies have shown that above-ground shelters are just as safe, and in many cases safer than their underground storm shelter counterparts (Article discussing the safety of above ground storm shelters). Sizes typically range from around 50 square feet to upward of 200 square feet on larger models and some can be equipped with electricity, restrooms, and other creature comforts based on need or desire.
Tornado Alley is not the Only Area Showing Increases in Storm Shelter Purchases
While storm-prone states are key target markets, many people in states not known for tornado outbreaks are purchasing the shelters for peace of mind. And recent NOAA data has shown that nearly all states have had devastating tornadoes in recent years.
Intrigued? Check out our gallery of photos, or contact us for more information.