Tornado Shelter Installation

posted in: Random Stuff | 9

We had a tornado shelter installed today.  Dear Husband grew up here and never had a basement or shelter.  His parents have lived here for 40+ years and never had one until last year.  Even though we live in tornado alley, Norman has never really seen a lot of damage, until the past few years.  My parents were aghast that our house didn’t already have a shelter when we bought it and find it baffling why so few homes in Norman have basements.  In 1994 a tornado ripped through the pasture right behind my parents house and came within 100 yards.  After the storm my mom promptly started digging a cellar and now they have the peace of mind that their own little hidey-hole gives them.

After a series of events we were finally able to purchase our own beloved tornado shelter.

The guys from Smart Shelters, Inc. came and were done in 4 hours flat.  I found this process fascinating, hence all the pictures.

tornado shelter

The showed up with their trailer loaded down with a backhoe, shelter, cement cutter and other sundry installation items.

messy garage

Harry watched on with interest as they unloaded their gear.

In case you’re wondering…I found this swing sitting outside someone’s house.  Obviously it was free so I took it.  Don’t worry, I have plans for it.  Also, our garage is very messy but we’re fine with that.  It’s a car hole for goodness sake, it’s supposed to be messy.  People who have sparkling clean garages frighten me a little and I’m not sure if I completely trust them.

There was not a ramp on the trailer for the backhoe and we watched with suspense as he maneuvered it off this 4 foot drop.  I can’t begin to tell you how dangerous this looked and I gasped several times.  I don’t think this is a legit way to get this thing off a trailer but I’ve never known a backhoe operator to shy away from a challenge.

backhoe

backhoe

backhoe

backhoe

backhoe

backhoe

backhoe

backhoe

Once he was safely on the ground they cut through the concrete in the garage.

concrete cutter

storm shelter

storm shelter

Time to start digging.  One of my favorite things about this was that these guys did most of this work with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths.  digging out tornado shelter

digging with a backhoe

watching a backhoe dig

tornado shelter

tornado shelter

tornado shelter installation

tornado shelter installation

tornado shelter insallation

Once the shelter was in place, they put quick set concrete all around the space in between the dirt and the shelter to secure it in place.

tornado shelter installation

There you have it, our own little scaredy-hole.  8 feet long by 3 feet wide by 4 feet deep.  Hopefully we won’t have to use it often or for very long.  It is equipped with a battery operated ventilation fan and light.  Each tornado shelter is registered with the fire department so that if our house if flattened on top of us they will know where to find us and dig us out.

tornado shelter

tornado shelter

Okay, Gary England, do your worst.  We’re ready for you.

9 Responses

  1. Mommy

    I got anxiety just by LOOKING at that thing – I have claustrophobia, so even *before* you mentioned the possibility of the house falling down on top of it, I started to hyperventilate. Can’t believe that guy getting the backhoe down without a ramp – insane!

  2. Brandi Barnett

    I’m with your mom. I need my hidey hole! Tornadoes terrify me. But the fancy maneuvering of that backhoe? Wow. My four-year-old would be so impressed.

  3. Chris Carter

    WOW! What an amazing thing…to watch. You have peace now I bet… Your kids were so precious in those pictures!!! Praying you never have to use it!!! 🙂

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