After filming the above ground installation, I grabbed some burgers for the crew, and we headed out to the below ground installation site. Our destination was Camilla, Georgia, about an hour north of our plant. We don’t often install in our area, but this particular town has a sad storm story of its own to tell, and installing one of our shelters there was an honor.
In 2000, four deadly tornadoes devastated parts of southwest Georgia. One of those, an F3, swooped down, predator-like, on the sweet, unsuspecting town of Camilla. Eleven people died that day. Every person who died was in a mobile home—not a very sound and sturdy place to hide out in a storm. About 175 more people were injured. Homes and other buildings were destroyed; the estimated damage reached $20 million. On the scene that day were some very brave people. They worked tirelessly in their search and rescue efforts, and it’s a certainty that because of them more lives were not lost.
I learned of all this on the “set” of our installation.
Our customer had ordered a Below Ground Max model, and we were now proudly installing our shelter on his property. He was one of those people who helped the injured after that deadly storm, and he told us about it as if it had happened the day before. The tornadoes of 2000 really affected him, and he’d been researching storm shelters for some time since.
For a person who has witnessed Nature at her most brutal, this new customer of ours was obviously a very easy-going, kind hearted guy. He plays Daddy to three bleating baby goats, and he showed us a video of him playing with a baby deer he’d raised after it was found all alone. I realized this is the kind of person Survive-a-Storm Shelters protects—a person just like you and me, with interests, loved ones, and a life worth living.
We installed his shelter in his backyard. Because he does live in a mobile home, he wanted the entrance easily accessible. He showed us the spot he’d chosen, and we began to dig. I say we, but I really mean our star installers that day, Mike and Gerald. We brought along our backhoe, which is something anyone will need when installing a below ground shelter. It should be capable of lifting about 3500 lbs. for a Max model and 2600 lbs. for an Estate model. Mike and Gerald marked off the area and began the most labor intensive phase of the installation. I worked on my forehead suntan while I waited, and after the hole was dug and the dirt at the bottom leveled, we got to see some action.
The installation of one of our below ground max models.
The shelter was actually picked up with chains by the backhoe, carefully maneuvered over the hole, and gently placed into position. After this, some more measuring to ensure a perfect fit, and then the rest of the hole was filled in. Mike pushed the leftover dirt into an area of the yard that had a slope, so our lucky customer had some landscaping thrown into the deal as well!
We then packed and raked the surface dirt and spread some hay from Mike’s hayfield over it to make it look nice until the grass grows back. Our mission was complete: our customer was pleased, and our instructional video was complete. My first installation was a great success.
If you would like to speak to one of our storm shelter experts to discuss the whole process with you, give us a call at 888-360-1492. We have storm shelter loans available to help you get into a shelter today.