Little Rock, AR -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/25/2015 -- Residents of northwest Arkansas are finding it easier to purchase storm shelters now that Home Depot® has begun selling FEMA-compliant tornado shelters through store locations in the region.
Shoppers walking into any Home Depot store in Little Rock, Ark., — as well as stores in north Texas; southeast Missouri; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Pittsburg, Kan. — will discover a shiny grey metal storm shelter display sitting just next to the entrance of the store. As shoppers move into the store, they can get an up-close look at a 4-foot in diameter metal cylinder aptly dubbed "The TwisterPod." On top of the TwisterPod is a television playing a looping doodle video explaining the process for purchasing the shelter through the world's largest home improvement retailer.
Survive-a-Storm Shelters has been busy rolling out its shelters to Home Depot® stores throughout the Southwest and Midwest. The shelters are sold inclusive of delivery and installation within a generous delivery radius (typically about 50 miles) of each store location. Customers who want to purchase a shelter simply approach any Home Depot® associate and request a complimentary site visit to their home or place of business. The Home Depot then passes this information along to Survive-a-Storm, which schedules the visit within 24-hours.
According to Survive-a-Storm Vice President Matt Williams, "After the Joplin tornado outbreak in May of 2011 we were appalled to learn that wait times for tornado shelters were as long as six or seven months. We also heard horror stories about fly-by-night companies that would take deposits for shelters only to steal the deposits. When we discovered that quality storm shelters were unavailable through major big box home improvement chains, we stepped into the gap and leveraged our experience in the disaster industry."
Harbor Enterprises, the parent company of Survive-a-Storm Shelters, built tens of millions of dollars in disaster housing after Hurricane Katrina under contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA. The company was one of only several companies that were able to pass rigorous indoor air quality standards. The company went on to build several thousand homes in Haiti after the earthquake that devastated the small island nation. "Our background in responding to natural disasters primed our desire to help people become more proactive in preparing for such tragedies," said Williams. "We are helping to address the supply chain and product availability issues by leveraging our experience in the disaster industry as well as our substantial manufacturing and logistics capacity."
The company's complete line of FEMA-compliant storm shelters are available through The Home Depot® website and in select Home Depot® store locations in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. The move makes buying and installing a storm shelter more timely and efficient, according to Williams.
"Confusion about product testing and quality have been far too common in the storm shelter industry," Williams said. "Survive-a-Storm Shelters have been designed by licensed professional engineers, tested at Texas Tech University, and manufactured and installed in accordance National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) and FEMA guidelines, providing reassurance that the shelters distributed through The Home Depot meet these very stringent requirements."
Consumers purchasing shelters through the Home Depot website are encouraged to have their shelters installed by a qualified local contractor and inspected to ensure that shelter installation complies with the manufacturer's guidelines for installation. The cost of purchasing a Survive-a-Storm Shelter through a Home Depot store ranges from $3,500 to about $5,000.
Survive-a-Storm above ground and underground shelters are constructed of steel and are designed to provide near absolute protection against EF5 tornado winds (i.e., wind speeds of up to 250 miles per hour). The Georgia-based company manufactures a full line of FEMA-compliant underground tornado shelters, above ground storm shelters, community safe rooms, survival bunkers and bulletproof panic rooms. Its storm shelters and safe rooms are sealed by licensed professional engineers as compliant with FEMA 320/361, ICC-500, and IBC 2009. Its tornado shelters have also passed rigorous debris impact testing simulating an EF5 tornado at the prestigious Wind Science & Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University.
About Survive-a-Storm Shelters
Survive-a-Storm Shelters is a division of Harbor Enterprises, LLC headquartered in Thomasville, Ga., and with offices in Oklahoma City, Okla.; Dallas, Texas; Little Rock, Ark ; and Nixa, Mo. Survive-a-Storm Shelters is a Producer Member of the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) and is a partner with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®). The company distributes its residential storm shelters through Home Depot, and it distributes its community storm shelters nationwide. Survive-a-Storm Shelters are available on a Government Services Administration (GSA) contract.
Executive Vice President for Marketing, Sales & Government Affairs