As a responsible citizen, you are always looking for ways to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Living in an area prone to natural disasters can be a challenging experience. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe storms are a part of life for many of us.
While it is impossible to prevent such events, you can take proactive measures to minimize their impact. This is where handicap storm shelters come into the picture.
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about handicap storm shelters and how they can help you stay safe during extreme weather conditions.
What are Handicap Storm Shelters?
Handicap storm shelters are specifically designed to provide shelter and protection during severe weather events, such as tornadoes or hurricanes, for individuals with disabilities.
These shelters are designed to meet the unique needs of people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, have limited mobility, or require medical equipment.
Handicap storm shelters are typically constructed using reinforced steel or concrete and are built to withstand extreme weather conditions.
They are equipped with safety features such as emergency lighting, ventilation systems, and backup power sources.
Types of Handicap Storm Shelters
There are several types of handicap storm shelters available on the market, including:
These shelters are designed to be installed above the ground level, such as in a garage or on a concrete slab.
They are usually made of steel and can be accessed through a door.
These shelters are installed in the ground and are typically made of reinforced concrete. They can be accessed through a door or a hatch in the roof.
Safe rooms are a type of above-ground shelter that are built to withstand extreme weather conditions.
They are typically constructed using reinforced steel and can be installed in a variety of locations, including in a garage or in the basement of a home.
These shelters are designed to be easily transported and can be set up quickly in the event of severe weather.
They are typically made of lightweight materials such as fiberglass or plastic and can be used for temporary shelter.
Why Do You Need a Handicap Storm Shelter?
The primary reason you need a handicap storm shelter is to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones during severe weather conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, the United States experiences an average of 1,253 tornadoes each year.
Additionally, hurricanes and severe thunderstorms are becoming increasingly frequent, causing billions of dollars in damages annually.
A handicap storm shelter provides a secure place for you and your family to ride out these storms.
Features of Handicap Storm Shelters
Handicap storm shelters come equipped with various features that make them accessible and safe for people with disabilities.
Some of the essential features of handicap storm shelters include:
- Accessible Doors: Handicap storm shelters feature wide, accessible doors that are easy to open and close. The doors are also reinforced to withstand high winds and debris impact.
- Wheelchair Ramps: Handicap storm shelters have wheelchair ramps that make them accessible for people with mobility impairments.
- Grab Bars: Grab bars are installed inside the shelter to provide support and stability for people with mobility impairments.
- Lighting: Handicap storm shelters are equipped with lighting to ensure visibility inside the shelter.
- Ventilation: Handicap storm shelters have ventilation systems that provide fresh air and prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide.
- Sanitary Facilities: Handicap storm shelters have sanitary facilities, such as toilets and sinks, that are accessible for people with disabilities.
Installing a handicap storm shelter is a significant investment, and the process can take several weeks.
- Select the type of shelter you want and choose a suitable location.
- Next, you need to prepare the site, which involves excavating the area and pouring a concrete foundation.
- Once the foundation is in place, the shelter is installed, and the entrance is reinforced.
- Finally, the shelter is inspected to ensure that it meets all safety standards.
What are the Best Materials for Handicap Storm Shelters?
When it comes to the materials used to construct handicap storm shelters, there are a few options to consider.
Some of the most common materials used include steel, concrete, and fiberglass. Each of these materials has its own set of pros and cons.
Steel is a popular choice for handicap storm shelters because of its strength and durability.
Steel structures can withstand extreme winds and heavy impacts, making them ideal for areas prone to tornadoes and hurricanes.
However, steel can also be expensive and heavy, making it difficult to transport and install.
Concrete is another popular choice for handicap storm shelters. It is a strong and durable material that can withstand extreme weather conditions.
However, concrete can also be expensive and heavy, making it difficult to install in some areas.
Fiberglass is a lightweight and affordable option for handicap storm shelters. It is also easy to transport and install, making it a popular choice for those who need to move their shelter frequently.
However, fiberglass is not as strong as steel or concrete, and may not provide the same level of protection in severe weather conditions.
Ultimately, the best material for your handicap storm shelter will depend on your specific needs and budget.
How Much Does a Handicap Storm Shelter Cost?
The cost of a handicap storm shelter can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size, materials used, and location of the shelter.
On average, a handicap storm shelter can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 or more.
It is important to note that the cost of a handicap storm shelter is a small price to pay when it comes to protecting the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones during a severe weather event.
In addition, many communities offer financial assistance or grants to help cover the cost of a handicap storm shelter for those who cannot afford one.
Are Handicap Storm Shelters Required by Law?
The answer to this question will vary depending on where you live.
Some states and municipalities have laws in place that require certain types of buildings, including homes and schools, to have a designated storm shelter. However, these laws may not specifically require handicap accessible storm shelters.
It is important to check with your local government to see if there are any laws or regulations in place regarding handicap storm shelters.
Even if it is not required by law, having a handicap storm shelter can provide peace of mind and ensure the safety of those with disabilities during a severe weather event.
Benefits of Handicap Storm Shelters
Handicap storm shelters offer several benefits, including:
Protection during severe weather
Handicap storm shelters are designed to provide protection during severe weather events, such as tornadoes or hurricanes.
They can help prevent injury or death by providing a safe and secure location to wait out the storm.
Handicap storm shelters are designed to meet the unique needs of people with disabilities.
They are equipped with features such as wheelchair ramps, wide doorways, and grab bars to make them accessible to everyone.
Peace of mind
Handicap storm shelters can provide peace of mind for individuals with disabilities and their families. Knowing that there is a safe place to go during severe weather can alleviate anxiety and stress.
Increased home value
Installing a handicap storm shelter can increase the value of a home. Many homebuyers are willing to pay a premium for homes with storm shelters installed.
Considerations When Choosing a Handicap Storm Shelter
When choosing a handicap storm shelter, there are several considerations to keep in mind, including:
- Size: Handicap storm shelters come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different numbers of people. It is important to choose a shelter that is large enough to accommodate everyone who will be using it.
- Location: The location of the handicap storm shelter is an important consideration. It should be located in a convenient and accessible location, such as near the home or in the garage.
- Cost: Handicap storm shelters can vary in price, depending on the type and size of the shelter. It is important to choose a shelter that fits within your budget.
- Installation: The installation of a handicap storm shelter can be a complex process. It is important to choose a reputable installer who has experience with installing handicap storm shelters.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can handicap storm shelters accommodate wheelchairs?
Yes, most handicap storm shelters are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
Can I install a handicap storm shelter on my property?
Yes, you can install a handicap storm shelter on your property, but you may need to obtain a permit from your local government first.
How often should I inspect my handicap storm shelter?
It is recommended that you inspect your handicap storm shelter at least once a year to ensure that it is in good working condition.
In conclusion, handicap storm shelters are an important investment for anyone who wants to keep themselves and their loved ones safe during a storm. By providing a safe, accessible, and convenient place to seek shelter, these shelters offer peace of mind and protection when it matters most.
If you are considering installing a handicap storm shelter on your property, be sure to do your research and choose a reputable and experienced installer who can help you choose the right shelter for your needs.
Stay safe and be prepared for whatever Mother Nature may bring.