Demand for tornado shelters increase

Thursday, May 15th 2008, 9:14 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

The recent outbreak of tornadoes in populated areas has been enough to convince hundreds of homeowners to purchase storm shelters.

Mark Shaw, owner of Smart Safe Tornado Shelters said anytime a storm hit, business increases, but this year has been exceptionally busy for him.

"Storm shelters are like insurance, except it's a tangible," Shaw said.

After watching twisters touch down in the metro and across the state, Oklahomans seen to be taking no chances. Shaw said sales are soaring and his crews are installing seven or eight shelters a day.

The Santiago's live on the north side of the metro and they said the storms this season have been too close for comfort.

"They get tired of huddling in a hallway with their baby asking mommy, ‘Are we going to die?'" Rey Santiago said. "The last few tornadoes coming up through Edmond and being close, forced us to decide to spend our rebate check."

Rey Santiago, the father of two, said the shelter is a small price to pay if it means his family will survive the next big tornado that could hit. His shelter is going in his garage and Shaw said the convenience of shelters inside the home is making all the difference.

"You don't have to take your family out into the lightning and into the hail and the rain," Shaw said.

This year, 90 percent of shelter sales are going to homes that are already built.

Because the demand for shelters have increased so quickly, Shaw's company said they're now backed up three to four weeks for installations.