Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornado Shelter

Photo credit: Weather Tech Shelters
This is not a paddling post, unless you view it as something to keep us around long enough to paddle another day. I’ve waffled for several years, since moving to and building in Oklahoma, on whether or not to make the expenditure for a tornado shelter. The devastation in Moore has been a jolt that makes spending several thousand dollars more a bit easier to swallow. Oklahoma has had seven EF-5 tornadoes, the strongest on earth. This puts Oklahoma and Alabama in a tie for generating the world’s strongest winds. We have had a couple occasions requiring us to duck and cover in the closet, but the Moore storm proved that unless one is comfortable with really long odds, a closet is not worth betting your life on. Like buying a liferaft when we were ocean sailing, it’s money you deem as prudent to invest, but hope you’ve wasted, in light of the fact that you hope to never get to use it. But, like the liferaft, if you do need it, there are zero alternate options. A couple other considerations also weighed on this decision.

One is that the town no longer has a municipal storm shelter. The shelter the town had been using, and a couple alternatives they had considered, have all proven unsatisfactory. We either shelter in our home, or not at all. Two, we also have to consider the safety of kids and grandkids when they are visiting.

We’ve spent the last couple days weighing the number of different types of shelters, and drew upon friends that have also had to face this issue. We found very quickly, again just like with liferafts, that capacity ratings represent the number of very intimate people that can be pushed into the smallest possible space. However, there is a difference in how long you expect to be in the box. You may spend a month in a liferaft, but assuming you have the shelter location registered or make family aware of where it is, one shouldn’t have to spent more than a day or two locked in the box under even the worst circumstances. For most of the survivors, their voluntary incarceration didn’t exceed minutes. So, we placed the order today, and delivery and installation should occur in about a month.

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