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Arkansas Living April 2012 : Page-19

attractive option. The cost can vary widely depending on the home and the design but could be as little as a few thousand dollars for materials. Above-ground shelters The old-fashioned storm cellar, so com-mon across the Arkansas countryside for de-cades, is no longer the only option. For start-ers, you no longer have to go underground. One popular option is a prefabricated steel shelter that bolts to the concrete slab founda-tion of your home. These are popular with both homeowners and builders, and it’s clear why: They’re inside the structure, they’re quick to install, and they’re engineered to provide “near-absolute” protection. The cost, delivered and installed, starts at $4,000 and is based on size. Much of the protection of an above-ground shelter isn’t because of the design of the shelter but rather its location. People are often reluctant to leave their homes for an outside cellar (especially when it’s rain-ing) until the very last minute, when it can be extremely dangerous to be exposed to the storm. Most tornado deaths are caused by fl y-ing debris. “It’s not the wind that kills you, it’s what’s in the wind,” Smith said. For those with limited mobility, the easy access of an above-ground safe room may make it the only practical option. The refuge can be installed in the garage or elsewhere in an existing residence, or it can be installed during new construction. For structures that do not have a concrete slab foundation, such as a mobile home, a slab can be poured di-rectly adjacent to the dwelling and the safe haven anchored to it. Many above-ground safe rooms also come wired for electrical connections, which is more diffi cult to do than with a below-ground shelter. Having electric lights and a television or radio in the shelter may encour-age you to take cover sooner. Just remember, there’s still a need for battery – or crank-pow-ered – fl ashlights and radios when the power goes out. The interior of a Vilonia home after an EF-2 tornado on April 25, 2011. Some interior walls are still standing but offer little protection from fl ying debris. struction or installed when the residence is built. Richard Harp, a Little Rock builder, said homeowners choose this option “be-cause they want a more custom approach to use the space in a way that blends seamlessly into their plan … and if positioned and out-fi tted well, it could offer safety during a home invasion.” Harp said about 10 percent to 15 percent of the new homes he builds contain built-in safe rooms at a cost of between $7,000 and $10,000, depending on the size and the foun-dation of the house. Usually constructed of reinforced con-crete, custom-built safe rooms can be any size or confi guration and are often larger than the average prefabricated shelter that typically measures 4 feet by 6 feet or 4 feet by 8 feet. The room can be practically indistinguish-able from the rest of the house, sometimes serving double duty as a walk-in closet in the master bedroom or a small study, Harp said. Interestingly, while these shelters appear to be a seamless part of the home, they’re ac-tually not tied to it structurally. This design allows the house to totally blow away with-out placing stress and strain on the safe room, leaving it standing when everything else is gone. They are also more expensive than some other options. Tornado Shelter Emergency Supplies Consider storing a small kit with these supplies in your shelter:   :HDWKHUUDGLR   2QHÁ DVKOLJKWSHUSHUVRQ   6PDOOÀ UVWDLGNLW   ([WUDFKDQJHRIFORWKLQJDQGVKRHV   :UHQFKWRWXUQRIIJDVDQGZDWHU   ([WUDEDWWHULHV   ([WUDSUHVFULSWLRQPHGLFLQHV   ([WUDFRQWDFWOHQVHVRUROGJODVVHV   &DVK   ´05(µ&#0b;´0HDO&#0f;5HDG\WR(DWµ&#0c;&#1d;0LOLWDU\ UDWLRQVSURYLGHDKRWPHDODQGGULQN If you have room:   +HDY\GXW\WUDVKEDJVDQGGXFWWDSH   5RRÀ QJWDUS   )LUHH[WLQJXLVKHU   79RUERRNV   &KLOGUHQ·VHQWHUWDLQPHQW $5.$16$6/,9,1* Built-in custom shelters Another option is a custom-built safe room, either retrofi tted into existing con-APRIL 2012 , 19 Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

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