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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, my first post here :) I posted this on another site I frequent, but wanted to post here and get you guys opinions as well. So below is the post.

"So after thinking alot about it I've decided to build a safe room in my apartment, although it's on the 2nd floor I really have no better options right now and I need something to make me feel safe just in case the fall season turns out like this spring. My options for rooms are our bathroom (which would be somewhat of a pain), our bedroom closet (which is next to the outer wall of our apt. although I thought about building an enforced wall between it and the outer wall, dunno if it would work) or our closet in our living room. Below is a pic of the living room closet, don't mind the crap stacked up in it lol. I would take the shelves out of it and this site here http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=171110 (actually how I found this site :D:) is what I'm looking at possibly doing. The 2nd pic is about the distance of the closet to the exterior wall of the apt. (although it's a bit further away than the pic looks. Thoughts/ideas?"

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/23/closeti.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/196/frontht.jpg/

A few things to keep in mind..first I live in Sw Virginia where tornadoes are really really rare, but after this past spring coming within an hour of my home I'm terrified. Second, the ones that have come close have mostly been EF0 EF1s with a few EF2s and 3s at times. Do you think this kind of room would be sufficient protection? I know 2nd floors aren't the prime spot you wanna be in a tornado, but I'm very limited on options until I get to move this December and hopefully have a basement :thumb:
 

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Pleasantly demented woman
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Welcome to Survivalist Boards.

I'm sorry, but I'm a little confused - why are you so concerned about tornadoes when they are very rare for your area, and when you do get them "an hour away" they are not very big ones?

If it were me, I would not be investing much time/money into making a safe room which is not in a good position to be very safe, from a danger that is very unlikely as well.

Maybe I missed something here.
 

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Good point. If they are rare why the worry.

I used to work with a client who claimed he could build a car "you couldn't be killed in." I thought this was pure bs until I learned his concepts were based on Hollywood stunt men who get in full speed head on collisions for a living. The stunt men build a steel cage inside the car that braces and absorbs impact. If I had to build a tornado safe room... I would follow the same concept. If you build a reinforced cage... it should be something you can document against wind speed resistance.

But personally... I would want a basement. My wife had a college friend killed 5 years ago by a tornado. I've seen hurricanes... but never a tornado... and my understanding is tornados come fast with little warning.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Simple explanation - Lilapsophobia lol

Honestly, I know if a violent 1 hit that kind of room would do nothing..I'd be running for the hills or somethin lol, but I just thought maybe if a EF1-2 came through it would be safe enough to withstand the flying debris and such.
 

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Family Always Comes First
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Ok, I have seen tornados and what they can do. Your plan is very flawed. I'm not putting you down, but perhaps I can help better inform you and anyone else reading this thread.

First of all, just because "tornados usually don't hit here", doesn't mean a thing to the tornado that is going to hit your apartment. Tornados have no knowledge of what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. They happen when the conditions are right and that can happen during any month of the year even in areas that usually do not get tornados.

Secondly, you are trying to survive a tornado on the second floor of an apartment building. A far better plan would be, if able, would be to move to a more secure place. Even a ground floor apartment stands a better chance in a tornado than a second floor one. If you can, try and find a home to rent with strong building types like a brick home, better yet, can you possibly buy a home in which to build a saferoom in.

The apartment you live in is not going to allow you to make any real improvements to build a real saferoom and if you did anyway, when the lease is up, you lose your saferoom.

I have seen what even an EF-2 or EF-3 tornado can do to a structure. Trust me, you do not want to place your (false) sense of security in this plan.

Before you dismiss me as not knowing what I'm talking about, I am a Storm Chaser and have been doing this for over 10 years now. I live right in the heart of Tornado Alley. I have been as close as 1/4 mile to an EF-5 tornado as it was chewing up everything in it's path, leveling homes and buildings right down to the concrete slab.

I have walked through destroyed structures, calling out for anyone that might be trapped in the rubble. I was not in Joplin this year, but I was in El Reno and Piedmont Oklahoma when that EF-5 came through. I helped look for survivors and those that were still missing, but later found dead.

One thing that many people do not realize is that a lot of times, if you have enough advance warning that a tornado is heading your way, you may be able to safely get out of th aea before it hits. You must know when the weather conditions are right for tornados to occur, but also know that they can and will form when not always expected.

Most, not all, tornados in North America usually travel from the west or southwest towards the east or northeast. Sure, some will make the famous "right hand turn" as they strengthen, moving more southeast, but for the most part tornados head in an easterly direction. They can however actually go in any general direction, but I digress.

The safest escape route if enough time allows is to get in your vehicle and head south, away from the path of the storm. This will get you to safety the quickest and also get you out of the large hail core that is usually out in front of the tornado's path.

If there isn't enough time to safely escape, then by all means take the best shelter you can find. This is in a basement or on the ground floor, in the center of thebuilding away from any outside walls. Get inside the smallest area hat you can fit into like a bathroom or closet. Close all doors to help giv te walls more strength and to try and help protect you from any flying or falling debris. If you have any helmet, wear it to protect your head. Cover up with pillows, blankets, even futon mattresses if you can.

Have a fully charged cell phone with you and a battery powered radio to hear the latest information nd to call out if you need help, but realize that if a tornado is in the ara, te cell towers may likely be down. Sometimes a tex message can get out when voice phone calls can not. Have someone outside your area that you can call to check in with and to relay any health and wellfare messages. Have a first aid kit available in your shelter and a good flashlight. Wear sturdy shoes o boots because you may have to walk/crawl out of some serious debris with nails and broken glass. Do not touch any electrical wires because they may or may not be live. Know where to turn off any natural gas mains, water mains or electrical power to your home to prevent an explosion or fire after damage has occured.

Have a good S.A.M.E. Programmed Weather Radio working during severe weather to alert you of weather about to hit your area. If possible, get a Ham Radio or Scanner and tune to the Storm Spotter/Storm Chaser/NWS frequenciesto know what is happening, while it is happening.

I know that the suggestions and advice I've given here isn't what you were looking for in the OP but I hope my post helps you become better informed and to make better choices.

Severe weather, especially tornados are scary, but with proper information and planning, you can be ready for them. I do wish you good luck.

Medic73
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the replies. I just feel so wide open to this and hearing my plan is totally worthless just makes me more scared :( I guess back to the drawing board.
 

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Pleasantly demented woman
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I live in tornado country too, and I cannot remember there ever being one where we had absolutely no warning whatsoever. In fact we have so many tornado watches (meaning, conditions are such that tornados are likely to form), that we get a little jaded and stop paying attention, which is awful of us. Anyway, get the weather radio, keep your head up, and have a plan, like Medic says.
 

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What medic73 said.

I live in Alabama. We have alot of tornadoes here.

Just about the only safe room against a EF-5 is underground. The absolute best way to survive a tornado is not to be in its way.

Buy/rent a house with a basement.
 

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Prepared Gourmet
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You may want to look into pre-made 'pods' - some of them are not terrifically expensive (you may find one for a single person that goes for $2500 or so I bet) and they get delivered and installed quickly (this is assuming you have a basement or garage or suitable outdoor area). You would feel safer faster if you could dig up the funds for one of those. I don't have any links right now but scout around the web - I am sure you will find some really relatively cheap 'saferooms' for sale. Seems to me - from the DIY page you linked - that you would be better off doing that than building your own unless you are already an expert carpenter and mason. That design doesn't look that cheap either given materials costs these days - and it is not 'tested' by published standards. I know someone in Alabama who got a shelter that can house 6 people during a storm (this is NOT long term ride-out-shtf other than tornadoes) for about $5k so a single should be a fair bit cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You may want to look into pre-made 'pods' - some of them are not terrifically expensive (you may find one for a single person that goes for $2500 or so I bet) and they get delivered and installed quickly (this is assuming you have a basement or garage or suitable outdoor area). You would feel safer faster if you could dig up the funds for one of those. I don't have any links right now but scout around the web - I am sure you will find some really relatively cheap 'saferooms' for sale. Seems to me - from the DIY page you linked - that you would be better off doing that than building your own unless you are already an expert carpenter and mason. That design doesn't look that cheap either given materials costs these days - and it is not 'tested' by published standards. I know someone in Alabama who got a shelter that can house 6 people during a storm (this is NOT long term ride-out-shtf other than tornadoes) for about $5k so a single should be a fair bit cheaper.
I have a wife and 2 boys so that wouldn't really work but thanks for the reply :thumb: and ty Sooner I'll read up on that.
 

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I have a wife and 2 boys so that wouldn't really work but thanks for the reply :thumb: and ty Sooner I'll read up on that.
good luck. where you located? if in the midwest i am sure any of the local state universities will have something on safe rooms they recommend and their building recommendation as car as building a room. this is something my next house will have. also they say the best thing to protect a dwelling is the garage door. the more expensive and heavy the better. if you lose a garage door it will create a vacumn and you will most likely lose your roof. lose the roof you lose the house. good luck
 

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Ok, I have seen tornados and what they can do. Your plan is very flawed. I'm not putting you down, but perhaps I can help better inform you and anyone else reading this thread.

First of all, just because "tornados usually don't hit here", doesn't mean a thing to the tornado that is going to hit your apartment. Tornados have no knowledge of what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. They happen when the conditions are right and that can happen during any month of the year even in areas that usually do not get tornados.

Secondly, you are trying to survive a tornado on the second floor of an apartment building. A far better plan would be, if able, would be to move to a more secure place. Even a ground floor apartment stands a better chance in a tornado than a second floor one. If you can, try and find a home to rent with strong building types like a brick home, better yet, can you possibly buy a home in which to build a saferoom in.

The apartment you live in is not going to allow you to make any real improvements to build a real saferoom and if you did anyway, when the lease is up, you lose your saferoom.

I have seen what even an EF-2 or EF-3 tornado can do to a structure. Trust me, you do not want to place your (false) sense of security in this plan.

Before you dismiss me as not knowing what I'm talking about, I am a Storm Chaser and have been doing this for over 10 years now. I live right in the heart of Tornado Alley. I have been as close as 1/4 mile to an EF-5 tornado as it was chewing up everything in it's path, leveling homes and buildings right down to the concrete slab.

I have walked through destroyed structures, calling out for anyone that might be trapped in the rubble. I was not in Joplin this year, but I was in El Reno and Piedmont Oklahoma when that EF-5 came through. I helped look for survivors and those that were still missing, but later found dead.

One thing that many people do not realize is that a lot of times, if you have enough advance warning that a tornado is heading your way, you may be able to safely get out of th aea before it hits. You must know when the weather conditions are right for tornados to occur, but also know that they can and will form when not always expected.

Most, not all, tornados in North America usually travel from the west or southwest towards the east or northeast. Sure, some will make the famous "right hand turn" as they strengthen, moving more southeast, but for the most part tornados head in an easterly direction. They can however actually go in any general direction, but I digress.

The safest escape route if enough time allows is to get in your vehicle and head south, away from the path of the storm. This will get you to safety the quickest and also get you out of the large hail core that is usually out in front of the tornado's path.

If there isn't enough time to safely escape, then by all means take the best shelter you can find. This is in a basement or on the ground floor, in the center of thebuilding away from any outside walls. Get inside the smallest area hat you can fit into like a bathroom or closet. Close all doors to help giv te walls more strength and to try and help protect you from any flying or falling debris. If you have any helmet, wear it to protect your head. Cover up with pillows, blankets, even futon mattresses if you can.

Have a fully charged cell phone with you and a battery powered radio to hear the latest information nd to call out if you need help, but realize that if a tornado is in the ara, te cell towers may likely be down. Sometimes a tex message can get out when voice phone calls can not. Have someone outside your area that you can call to check in with and to relay any health and wellfare messages. Have a first aid kit available in your shelter and a good flashlight. Wear sturdy shoes o boots because you may have to walk/crawl out of some serious debris with nails and broken glass. Do not touch any electrical wires because they may or may not be live. Know where to turn off any natural gas mains, water mains or electrical power to your home to prevent an explosion or fire after damage has occured.

Have a good S.A.M.E. Programmed Weather Radio working during severe weather to alert you of weather about to hit your area. If possible, get a Ham Radio or Scanner and tune to the Storm Spotter/Storm Chaser/NWS frequenciesto know what is happening, while it is happening.

I know that the suggestions and advice I've given here isn't what you were looking for in the OP but I hope my post helps you become better informed and to make better choices.

Severe weather, especially tornados are scary, but with proper information and planning, you can be ready for them. I do wish you good luck.

Medic73
Hi, these questions are for Medic73 and any other stormchasers on here:

I live in eastern Ohio, and I am absolutely terrified of tornadoes. I used to live in Toledo, Ohio which could get some scary storms sometimes too, but I have always had a strange phobia of tornadoes. I say strange because I've never actually been through one, but I've had countless nightmares about them. It's hard to even watch a storm-chasing video because I get entranced watching the tornado and wondering, "What if I was killed by that thing?" I know my fears are too extreme, and they could even be deadly if I freak out so much during an actual tornado that I can't get myself together and seek the right kind of shelter. I live on the 2nd floor of an apartment building. There is a basement, but it is only accessible on the complete opposite end of the complex which takes at least 5 minutes to get to. I'm not sure if I should instead shoot for the 1st floor. If I were to go to the first floor, I have a couple options: under a stairwell, in an interior hallway, or maybe the bathroom down there. I also have a cat, and he is very stubborn whenever I try to get him in his carrier. He hates being held too. I couldn't just leave him on the 2nd floor if there was a tornado, but it could also take way too long to get him in his carrier. Sometimes he hides under the bed too and won't come out even if I offer him a treat or squirt him with the water bottle (that usually scares him into running). Anyway, sorry to inundate you with information. As you can tell, tornadoes get me going and not in a good way lol. If you have any tips about how to calm down and keep perspective as well as where the best shelter would be in my situation, I would really appreciate it. I just want to make sure I'm prepared rather than just scared.
 

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May I be a bit rude and blunt Colette? As much as we love our animals and they are "our babies", they are still animals. If you have to chose between potentially saving yourself or trying to save yourself and your cat, you need to chose you! Cats seem to come out ok out of all disasters better than everyone else anyway because they can squirm and find small safe places to hide.

You should have plenty of time to get to the basement (they do the "warnings" way in advance and even when the sirens go off, you could still book it down there) - baring that, under the stairs is where we would go in our current house (no basement).

Just remember to save YOU :) and welcome to the board!
 
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