The business of tornadoes

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - By Katie Bauer | email

(This is one in a series of special reports on the 1970 Lubbock Tornado)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Tuesday will be the 40th anniversary of the F5 tornado that killed 26 people here in Lubbock. During severe storm season, storm spotters may sell their videos and pictures to make a little money, but there are others who make their living by trying to keep you safe. KCBD NewsChannel 11's Katie Bauer explores the business of tornadoes.

You've seen the destruction and you never know when a tornado may hit your home town, so do you have somewhere to go?

"I think the important consideration is peace of mind of knowing a safe place is available.  The National Weather Service has come a tremendously long way in warnings. They do a marvelous job in warning you of an impending disaster, but that's not very helpful if you have no place to go," says Dr. Ernst Kiesling, Executive Director of the National Storm Shelter Association.

The National Storm Shelter Association is based in Lubbock and is the only organization of its kind in the United States. The association has certain guidelines that must be followed in order for a storm shelter to get a stamp of approval.

"Ordinary building codes and ordinary construction methods do not produce a structure or building that will withstand the extreme forces of a tornado," says Dr. Kiesling.

Brad Reed works with the Community Development Department for the City of Lubbock and has helped dozens of homeowners decide to put storm shelters in their building plans.

"This door has been tested at the Texas Tech research center for impact, with the impact cannon so it passes their test. It's FEMA rated, so that's what we require to be put on our shelters," says Reed.

As the storm shelter is being built, you can actually see just how sturdy it is from the concrete walls and ceiling, to the heavy duty metal door, but when it's complete this life saving room looks just like your average closet.

"They are designed up to 150 mph winds, which I believe is an F5 tornado," says Reed.

Putting a storm shelter in your home can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000. You can even have a storm shelter built in your existing home.

Once you do have a safe place in your home, Joe Otts, the sales manager for Lowe's says making sure you have a survival kit is important.

"Put your batteries in there your flashlights and an emergency crank radio, just so you do not have to fumble around the house to find all these different items, keep one location, one box, so that everyone in the family knows where that is," he says.

Weather radios can be purchased from various locations ranging from $15 and above.

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