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A composite storm shelter

News International-French

13 May 2016

TornadoPod develops a storm shelter designed with a sliding door which allow people to escape, even if trapped under a debris field.

Most storm shelters commercially available today are composed of concrete, steel, fiberglass or some combination of the three. They are typically either submerged in the ground with the lid/door protruding above the surface, constructed above the ground, or installed under a concrete slab with the opening cut through the floor. These products are not only expensive for the average home owner, but take up a large area of space or require holes to be cut in the slab floor when installed.

The Tornadopod takes a new approach. Using modern material science and a innovative design, the Tornadopod has been developed to fit compactly in a 5 ft. by 5 ft. space and is large enough for 6 adults. The design of the “pod” incorporates a unibody construction, a steel safety cage, and a ballistic shield. The pod sits anchored in the ground secured by 12,000 lbs. of concrete, while the steel safety cage and ballistic shield provide adequate protection from flying debris.

During a tornado or storm event, the occupants sit facing each other, secure under the safety cage and ballistic shield.

The unibody design accomplishes a major objective. It provides a secure, continuous barrier from ground water, rain, insects, spiders or other undesirable pests and is composed of a molded high tensile strength polyethylene.

The steel safety cage (built from 1.25 inch Schedule 40 steel pipe) was designed to stop the unit from being crushed. It has passed a vigorous set of crush tests without failure.

The ballistic shield was designed in cooperation with Innegra Technologies, an advanced material manufacturer, using a proprietary blend of ballistic materials to stop flying debris from penetrating the pod. The shield and the TornadoPod have been tested at Intertek, a global provider of safety and performance testing, against the ICC 500 standards and the FEMA 320/361 criteria. The major test is for Windborne Debris which requires the exposed surfaces of a tornado shelter be tested to emulate an F-5 tornado with wind speeds of 250 mph. The required test is to propel a 15-lb sawn lumber 2x4 missile at the exposed surfaces at 100 mph. 

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