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Man with a hammer hanging by his belt

Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building Resilient Safe Rooms

When severe storms loom on the horizon, having a safe room can provide a crucial layer of protection for you and your loved ones. A safe room, also known as a storm shelter or tornado shelter, is a fortified space designed to withstand extreme weather events. If you’re considering installing one, here are some essential factors to consider for building resilient safe rooms.


Choosing the right location for your safe room is paramount. Opt for an area within your home that is easily accessible, preferably on the ground floor and away from windows and exterior walls. Basements, interior closets, or rooms reinforced with concrete or steel are ideal choices.

Construction Materials

Select high-quality construction materials to ensure the strength and durability of your safe room. Reinforced concrete walls and ceilings provide excellent protection against high winds and flying debris. Steel doors and frames further reinforce the structure.


While safety is the top priority, proper ventilation is crucial to ensure comfort and prevent suffocation when seeking shelter for extended periods. Incorporate a ventilation system, such as a vent or fan, into your safe room’s design. This will provide fresh air and help regulate temperature and humidity levels.


Maintaining communication during a storm is essential. Install a landline telephone or consider including a cell phone signal booster within your storm shelter. This will help ensure you can stay in touch with emergency services and loved ones even if cellular networks are overloaded.

Essential Supplies

Stock your safe room with essential supplies to sustain you and your family during the storm. This includes a first aid kit, non-perishable food, bottled water, blankets, flashlights, a weather radio, and a fire extinguisher. Consider storing these items in waterproof containers or bags to protect them from water damage.

Fire extinguisher and a hose reel


Ensure your safe room is easily accessible to all family members, including those with disabilities or mobility challenges. Install handrails and ramps if necessary. It’s also important to educate everyone in your household about the safe room’s location and how to use it properly.

Secure Storage

Incorporate secure storage options within your safe room to protect important documents, cash, and valuable possessions. A fireproof and waterproof safe or lockbox can safeguard these items in case of a disaster.

Regular Maintenance

Once your safe room is in place, don’t neglect regular maintenance. Inspect the structure periodically for any signs of wear, damage, or structural weaknesses. Keep emergency supplies up to date and replace any expired items.

If you’re based in Oklahoma, get in touch with the builders at Oklahoma Shelters for the installation of a customized safe room at your residence. From underground bunkers to garage shelters, we can do it all!

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A large steel safe room.

The Advantages of Private Storm Shelters Over Community Shelters in Oklahoma City

There’s no questioning the need for community shelters in Norman and Oklahoma City during a storm, but more and more people in Oklahoma are beginning to see the necessity for adding private storm shelters in residences.

Tornadoes have historically had devastating consequences on communities, educating state and local governments on the benefits and drawbacks of relying only on community shelters. It’s a drastic and exclusive measure, but many communities have banned community shelters completely. Oklahoma City is one of them.

But here’s the thing: a private shelter offers considerably more advantages than community shelters, such as an underground bunker or garage shelter.

Here are a few of the most important things to think about:

The Risk of Overcrowding in Public Shelters

Unfortunately, public shelters typically lack adequate room, which is especially problematic as populations continue to rise. This means that the city will need to prepare by constructing more shelters and venues for people to gather in times of crisis and that existing facilities will be overcrowded.

In 2011, as an EF-5 tornado threatened Edmond, Oklahoma, the district’s schools opened their doors to the public. Over 8000 individuals came up seeking shelter. Although these campuses swiftly reached capacity in their safe rooms, many people continued to arrive with nowhere else to go.

Community shelters should be large enough to accommodate everyone in need of them, but in practice, this is rarely the case. Disabled people, among others, are disadvantaged in this scenario because they may not have the financial resources to secure a private shelter that meets their needs in terms of accessibility and safety.

Attempts To Reach Community Shelters Put People In Danger

When a warning is issued, a large number of people will rush to community shelters, causing a gridlock and potentially dangerous situations for others who live nearby. In the event of a tornado warning, every second counts, making it challenging for residents who live further away to make the journey to designated shelters.

That, along with full shelters and individuals being left to fend for themselves when the tornado strikes, is a tragedy waiting to happen. It also calls for pinpoint accuracy and fast thinking, which are hard to muster in the face of cataclysmic events.

Cars stuck in a traffic jam

One obvious advantage of private storm shelters over public ones is that everyone seeks the nearest and safest place to take cover in the midst of an emergency. The peace of mind that comes from having your own personal storm shelter installed within reach during severe weather is invaluable.

Although community shelters may not seem efficient at first, they should not be written off entirely. They’re crucial because they provide safety for people who don’t have access to private shelters due to financial constraints or a lack of room. Disabled persons, the homeless, those living in mobile homes, and the elderly are just some of the groups who can be negatively impacted if community shelters were to disappear entirely.

Therefore, we offer community shelters constructed to FEMA standards and backed by a 10-year warranty against corrosion and leaks, in addition to residential above-ground storm shelters, underground cement shelters, and garage shelters.

If you have any questions regarding our safe rooms, contact our storm shelter experts in Oklahoma City or Norman today.

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a white brown house during dayime

Why Edmond Residents Need Garage Shelters to Keep them Safe

Located in Oklahoma, Edmond is a small city that sees multiple tornadoes each year, some of which are incredibly powerful. Residents in town need to focus on their safety and protection, prioritizing their well-being above all else.

“Read More”

Storm Shelters

Underground Slope Top Shelter

Concrete Shelter

Underground Garage Shelter

Garage Shelter

Installing Steel Safe Room

Steel Safe Room

Underground Bunker

Underground Bunker


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