The Installation and Maintenance of Commercial Tornado Shelters

an illustration of workers doing annual maintainence on a tornado shelter

Imagine this scenario:

Dark clouds are gathering rapidly in the sky, a warning siren is howling in the distance, the wind is picking up an ominous speed and you have a building full of employees and customers.

Tornado shelters are an essential part of staying protected against severe weather. That is no less true during the hours you are at work. If you own a business, manage one, or are otherwise responsible for the lives of others during the workday, the thought of installing and maintaining a commercial tornado shelter may seem daunting. This is where the importance of collaborating with a seasoned and knowledgeable provider, such as Survive-A-Storm, becomes evident. 

When you’re installing a commercial storm shelter, it should be built to withstand severe tornadoes, including those at the EF5 level, providing reliable safety and protection. Survive-A-Storm Shelters are certified by the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA), to meet and exceed FEMA P-361 and ICC-500 standards.

Commercial Tornado Shelters: A Turnkey Service

The first question we typically get asked is, “Do you install?” For commercial tornado shelters, Survive-A-Storm offers a turnkey service that consists of manufacturing the shelter, delivering it, and installing it. This integrated approach ensures quality control and seamless execution at every step. 

Providing a turnkey service is especially crucial when dealing with life-saving devices like tornado shelters. We want our clients to have absolute confidence that every aspect of the installation is executed flawlessly, ensuring maximum safety and reliability. (It is also important to note that while our service is turnkey, we do support the preferences of those who prefer to do it themselves.)

Step One - Location

The first critical decision lies with the client - selecting the appropriate location for the shelter. Environmental factors such as soil type, slope, and drainage should be considered. For example, if the shelter will be placed in an existing parking lot, that would necessitate asphalt removal, or, if it’s on a sloped area, it may need to be leveled. For clients uncertain about these details, we offer a complimentary on-site visit to thoroughly assess their needs and the suitability of potential sites. It’s important for us to understand the area where the shelter will be installed.

Step Two - Delivery & Installation

Once the location is finalized and any necessary preparations are made, our installation team goes to work. The process begins with pouring the shelter’s foundation. The timing for this will be aligned with production and with the time needed for the concrete to cure before installation. After the foundation has cured, we deliver the shelter. It is then crane-set onto the prepared pad and anchored securely using our stringent specifications.

We can provide engineered shelter drawings to guide customers through the installation process. (Detailed specifications and the installation processes are reserved for post-purchase disclosure.)

Commercial Tornado Shelters - Best Practices

Once the shelter is installed, it's important to maintain it to ensure it remains in top condition. This includes regular inspections and cleaning to ensure the shelter is free of debris and damage. Periodically, check the doors, latches and seating and look for leaks and cracks. Repairs should be made immediately. If we’ve installed the shelter, you will be covered under warranty should potential issues arise.

Some shelter owners also keep emergency supplies and equipment inside the shelter. These items should be checked periodically to ensure that they are in top condition and that any food, water and medical supplies are in usable condition. It’s important to have an emergency plan in place and that everyone knows the plan.

Installing and maintaining a commercial tornado shelter is a critical step in protecting yourself, your employees and potentially your onsite clients or customers from severe weather. By following these steps and following best practices, you can ensure your shelter is in top condition and ready for use when needed.

To get started with a tornado shelter for your business, contact us today

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