NSSA and Industry Standard-A History

1970, Lubbock Texas—a tornado rips through, killing 26 people and destroying a third of the ‘hub’ of the South Plains. Texas Tech researchers took this opportunity to document the damage in order to find ways of improving building structures for resisting extreme winds. By 1974, the idea of the above ground storm shelter was born. Over the years, development of a better, stronger, more durable safe room continued. When a tornado wiped out an entire subdivision in Jarrell, Texas in 1997, Texas Tech University was ready for their above ground storm shelter to be featured. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, developed a high interest in storm shelters, even publishing a prescriptive guidebook for designing small residential shelters called “Taking Shelter from the Storm.” In 1999, the impact of Oklahoma City area tornadoes caused widespread coverage from the media, noting that an above ground shelter withstood an F-5 tornado. Incentives were then put into place by both Oklahoma and FEMA for people building or re-building their homes.  However, this did not include below ground shelters due to the lack of standards and familiarity with them. Because of the quality issues where below ground shelters were concerned, Dr. Kiesling from Texas Tech University invited the more than 20 storm shelter companies who were already testing their above ground units at their FEMA approved lab, and addressed the concerns. It was in this meeting that the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) was developed, and Lubbock, Texas was designated as its headquarters.

The NSSA developed standards that the storm shelter industry should follow for the design, construction, and installation of their shelters. The NSSA directors adopted what is known as the NSSA Standard, an evolving document that underwent periodic changes as new needs were acknowledged and addressed. In May 2002, NSSA signed an agreement with the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. of the International Code Council to develop a national consensus standard for storm shelters. The International Code Council/National Storm Shelter Association (ICC/NSSA) Standard for Design and Construction of Storm Shelters will be accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and will serve until the ICC/NSSA Standard is published. When shopping for your own shelter, one of the main components of finding the right company should include whether or not it is an NSSA approved shelter.

Survive-a-Storm Shelters is an NSSA member, and all of our tornado shelters are FEMA compliant and ICC 500 compliant.

We know quality. We know safety. We know above ground storm shelters. We know underground storm shelters. Give us a call today to see how we can develop the best storm shelter for your family’s needs: 888-360-1492

The leading manufacturer and distributor of prefabricated steel above ground and below ground tornado shelters, and community safe rooms.
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