Posts by Justin Brotton

What Is a Safe Room and How Can it Protect Me?

Above ground safe rooms are gaining ground as the ultimate multi-purpose shelter, and for good reason.

Made of thick steel or concrete, safe rooms can be built within existing rooms or pre-built with vaulted doors that are reinforced with several steel bolts. Most saferooms are constructed in the garage against an interior wall for better protection. They are above ground which makes them easy to enter and exit and are excellent for people who may have difficulty getting into a below-ground shelter.

Safe rooms can come equipped with several ‘bells and whistles’, depending on your wants and needs. A video monitoring system will allow you to watch intruders or monitor the storm while it passes, all while you are protected in your safe room. Keypad door locks and ventilation systems can also be installed on your safe room, making it the complete safety package.

While serving their main purpose as tornado shelters, safe rooms can also provide protection from people too, for example during home invasions and burglaries. They can also function as a safe and protect such valuables as jewelry or weapons. And while no shelter (in ground or above-ground) is 100% foolproof against tornadoes or other disasters, safe rooms are at the top of the heap in regards to functionality and pure strength.

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What is a Tornado Cluster?

What is a Tornado Cluster?  Tornado clusters are sudden outbursts of twisters that can occur over several days. and with more tornadoes involved in each occurrence. It is considered an outbreak when six or more EF-1 tornadoes begin within 6 hours of each other, despite their proximity.

During a recent NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) study, researchers discovered that the average number of tornadoes, per cluster, has risen from 10 to 15 in recent years. The project involved studying the number of tornadoes per outbreak in addition to the tornado variability. “These discoveries suggest that the risks from tornado outbreaks are rising far faster than previously recognized,” stated Joel Cohen, a mathematical population biologist and head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University in New York and Columbia’s Earth Institute.

A record 79% of tornado fatalities have resulted from these deadly outbreaks. During a particularly destructive week in April of 2011, more than 350 tornadoes weaved a destructive path across south-central United States causing more than 300 fatalities. With the increased possibility of multiple tornadoes, state emergency funds as well as the availability of first responders can be stretched to a breaking point.

Understanding the reason for the rise in outbreaks, is still a gray area. Climate change has been suggested as the possible drive for the increased number of tornadoes since weather patterns are in a constant state of flux. But scientists caution against zeroing in on certain conclusions until more data has been analyzed.

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