This or That: Basements vs. Storm Shelters

This or That: Basements vs. Storm Shelters

In the case of severe weather, it’s important to take shelter, be it a basement or a separate storm shelter. So which is the best option for you and your family? What is the difference between the two? Today we’ll take a look at both and answer the burning question…

The best place to take shelter is underground, making something like a basement/cellar or a storm shelter the ideal place to go. After all, most injuries or fatalities during a storm are caused by flying debris or shrapnel and not the storm itself.

So we know that the safest place to be is underground, but which option is best for you? To answer that question, let’s take a look at both basements and storm shelters:

BASEMENTS:

By definition, a basement refers to “the lowermost portion of a structure.” This room is either completely or partially underground, and is deemed the safest place to be in a house during a tornado or severe weather.

When taking shelter in a basement, be sure to stay away from any windows or doors if it is only partially underground. If it is completely underground, make sure the doorway is secure. Unlike a storm shelter or a safe room (more on that later), the ceilings may not be built to handle falling objects. When taking cover, it’s a good idea to get under a stairwell or a sturdy piece of furniture. Also be sure to avoid any heavy objects that might be above you, and use coverings (pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, etc.) and wear a helmet to shield yourself from any flying debris.

STORM SHELTERS:

In a nut shell, a storm shelter is a structure designed to keep anyone safe during severe weather such as tornadoes or flying debris, and are built underground. Unlike a basement, these are prebuilt structures designed to handle the elements, using reinforced steel or concrete. Also unlike the other, these are not part of the house. Many are installed in backyards and must be accessed from the outside (though some choose to put them in the floors of a garage or barn).

So which is the better option?

Safety is of the utmost importance during a storm. If you already have a basement, then by all means take shelter in that. For those who do not or may want that extra protection, it may not hurt to look into getting a safe room. After all, they’re installed underground, take up virtually no space, and more importantly, they’re built to keep you and your family safe.

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