Storm shelter may be wise addition to remodeling budget

Tulsa World - Developed by Texas Tech University in the late 1990s, the strategy involves reinforcing an interior room to withstand high winds and, especially, flying debris.

A phone call to a Tulsa storm shelter dealer Tuesday got an apologetic message saying the firm was deluged with business and asking for patience.

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Reese is well-versed on storm protection. His father, Bill Reese, was a pioneer in advocating an innovative shelter design that has become popular in the state.

Developed by Texas Tech University in the late 1990s, the strategy involves reinforcing an interior room to withstand high winds and, especially, flying debris.

Today, many homebuilders offer this option on new homes. Older homes can have a closet or pantry retrofitted, but at greater effort and cost.

The Texas Tech design involves using a sandwich of several layers of 3/4-inch plywood and 12-gauge steel for the walls and ceiling. That sturdy box then is fitted with a thick metal pocket door and bolted to the foundation. To make the room even safer, the ceiling is tied down with special steel "hurricane straps."

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