The number of houses damaged or destroyed by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma is staggering. And while there’s nothing you can do to protect a house if it’s in the direct path of a monster tornado, experts say lives could have been saved - and a lot of collapsed houses would’ve remained standing – if homeowners had taken two precautions:
First: Civil Engineer Andrew Graettinger says that homes on the fringes of a tornado – where winds are less than 135 miles per hour – are often badly damaged. But they’re less likely to collapse if you bolt the walls to the foundation and the roof, so the wind can’t rip the house apart. And all you need are clips and cable ties that cost about $1 dollar apiece. Meaning, you could protect a two story, 25-hundred square foot home for about $3 thousand dollars.
Also, lives could’ve been saved if more homes had above-ground fortified shelters called “safe rooms.” They can be added to an existing house, and are usually built from cinder blocks filled with mortar and rebar. Or you could buy a pre-fabricated safe room made from Kevlar, which is FEMA-rated to withstand 250-mile-per-hour winds.
Our expert says the total cost of adding a safe room and bolting down the walls is the equivalent of installing granite countertops – or a whirlpool tub. And the good news? These tornado safety precautions are proven to work. Which is why a growing number of new homes are being designed with these additions in mind.