How to Build a Concrete Storm Shelter


For people who live in extreme weather conditions such as tornado, storm or hurricane affected areas; it is recommended that you build a concrete storm shelter either in the backyard area of your house or in your basement as a safety hiding place and preparation whenever extreme weather strikes. You will never know when you will be affected by storms, hurricanes or tornado, therefore your family’s health and safety need to be well prepared in any event of emergency. Apart from that, you must educate your family members on the action to take in case of an emergency and also how to survive during extreme weather inside your concrete storm shelter. Your storm shelter should be built below ground level and it must not have any connection with your house from the outside area. This following article will teach you steps on how to build a concrete storm shelter for your family’s protection during emergency situation.

To build a concrete storm shelter, you need:

  • Concrete (the quantity depend on the size of your shelter)
  • Wood for creating benches and stairs
  • Steel or fiberglass for creating your wall’s frame
  • Plasterboard
  • 2-by-4 studs
  • Shovel
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Concrete nails
  • Nails
  • Drop Lighting
  • Flashlight
  • Good air ventilation

Building a Concrete Storm Shelter

How to Build a Concrete Storm Shelter

  • First of all, you need to determine the most suitable and safe location for building your concrete storm shelter.
    • The area must not be underneath a tree because whenever the tree falls during a storm or tornado, it will damage and crack your concrete shelter or even injure the people inside the shelter
  • Prepare the material to use and the area where you decide to build your storm shelter
    • One way of building a simple storm shelter is by creating 4 1/2 feet underground area along with another 2 feet of it above the ground.
    • You can make use of all the dirt excavated and mound them around the top of the storm shelter to form a smooth hill and perform a few landscaping methods so that it will look good. The purpose of creating this step is to help you block any high water whenever there is flood during any hurricane.
    • Construct the door of your shelter facing your house for easy and quick access whenever there is any tornado or storm.

Make sure that your storm shelter is near your house to enable quick access during emergency situations and the shelter must also be built away from structures that can be easily collapse.

  • If you are hiring a construction company to built your storm shelter
    • Make sure you choose a steel reinforced concrete that comes with good ventilation system
    • The door entrance to the shelter must be heavy duty and easy to be jacked open in any situation for example, in a situation of fallen debris that covers the door’s opening you would be able to open the door easily.
    • The shelter must also have stairs to enable you to step down into the shelter using its doorway.
  • For those of you who decide to build your storm shelter on your own,
    • You need to have a pre-designed plan or layout, which includes steel reinforcing to cater for your concrete shelter
    • Make sure your design are inclusive of a ventilation system, a heavy duty door, a strong stairway for easy entrance and get-away, seating bench along with a raised flooring inside the shelter.
  • In order to have a strong and safe storm shelter
    • You do not need to have windows especially made of glass for safety precaution
    • Create other source of lighting for instance, by using lanterns or flashlights.
  • Always be prepared for any for severe storms and tornadoes that usually comes with heavy downpour
    • Make sure your storm shelter is built on high ground as to not allow any ground water access and drain into the shelter.
    • Other option is to form a smooth hill using dirt or barricades surrounding your shelter.

Your storm shelter must be equipped with an emergency kit that caters for you and your families who will be using the shelter in any situation. Always check, renew and stock up your food supplies in case of emergency inside the shelter.

Always remember that during any tornado season

  • You must make sure to keep lots of drinking water source inside your storm shelter
  • Stock up supplies of canned foods with can opener, plastic spoons, dried fruits, flashlight, bandages, pain reliever, blankets, and a small radio.
  • If you do not know how to build concrete shelter, you need to contact a construction company that is able to build the shelter according to FEMA requirements.

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