Rebuilding after tornadoes: two designs that could save lives in another storm

The Christian Science Monitor - Following the tornado-driven tragedies that have struck the United States in the past month or more, many survivors are opting to remain and rebuild. They have an opportunity to do so, engineers and emergency managers say, in ways that can dramatically reduce deaths and injuries in the future.

More people appear to be looking into safe rooms and monolithic-dome structures to withstand the fierce winds of a tornado and the debris it kicks around.

Following the tornado-driven tragedies that have struck the United States in the past month or more, many survivors are opting to remain and rebuild. They have an opportunity to do so, engineers and emergency managers say, in ways that can dramatically reduce deaths and injuries in the future.

The opportunities range from installing safe rooms in new and even existing homes to literally thinking outside the box – trading a traditional home design for the graceful curves of a dome.

"If there is a silver lining to this," it's the increased attention that people are paying to safe rooms and other forms of shelter that can help individuals survive even the strongest tornadoes, says Ernst Kiesling, an engineering professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock who also serves as executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA), also based in Lubbock.

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