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Tornado Shelter

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by crater, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. crater

    crater NRA Member

    May 1, 2002
    brookville, ind
    Sorry it this not belong here.

    Here is what I was wondering. My sister (70 yrs old) is scared badly about tornados. Her husband recently passed and I was talking to her recently..

    The have a empty/unused septic tank which is about 30 feet in front of her house. I has not been used in over 10 years and was drained when then installed city water.

    Question is, what needs to be done in order to make this a safe and sanitary, emergency shelter?

    I realized that it should be completely dry and humidified. I have a pc of equipment that could do that. It will need a ladder for entrance/exit, which is no big deal since our brother is a welder.

    I am thinking about replacing the heavy top with a wooden cover that will be on hydralic hinges, cover that with astro turf and putting a picnic table above that. She has 1 acre of land so space is not a problem.

    What are your thought's and suggestions? This is not to be a long term, hunger down, shelter, but if it sounds feasible to do it for storm situations, maybe a few extra's could be added for if the SHTF.

    Many thanks in advance for any advice...
  2. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Yech. I would use a "new concrete pipe" laid horizontally in the ground.

  3. racerford


    Apr 22, 2003
    DFW area
    There would be no way to make a used septic tank clean enough to put my family in it. That said, if it is a manhole type entrance, that is not ideal for a 70 year old person. There are shelters made by the same people that make septic tanks that have stairway entrances with angles doors with pneumatic lifts and hydraulic jacks (if something falls on the door). They are designed for the purpose and easier to get in an out of.

    There also stand alone one or two person shelters that can be attacted to your slab.

    What area does she live in? Are there basements? What is the home construction? I think there is a sticky about shelters at the top of the page.
  4. Would be better to "harden" a closet in her house if possible.

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  5. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank Glock4Life

    Oct 11, 2004
    Avondale, AZ.
    We just had a tornado hit in Rinnie, TN, about 5 miles North of us. You should have seen the emergency vehicles heading North on Hwy 127 in front of the house. I turned on my Police Scanner and it was more busy then I'd heard it in a long time.
    Our next house is going to have a basement that we can use as a storm shelter. If you live where tornadoes hit it only makes sense to have a shelter of some kind.
  6. If your brother is a welder I would reinforce a closet with a metal frame and bolt on sheet steel. Nobody wants to get out in rain and hail and climb down into a inground tank, especially a elderly person. Other thoughts would be to get a really nice cast iron bathtub for her. Surprising alot of people have survived tornadoes by climbing in a bathtub with blankets or a matress over top of them. I'm assuming no basement.
  7. jtull7

    jtull7 Pistolero CLM

    Jan 27, 2006
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    You must be out of your mind to think about putting your 70 year-old sister in a used septic tank.
  8. Ruble Noon

    Ruble Noon "Cracker"

    Feb 18, 2009
    Yeah, I would go with something other than a used septic tank. Dig it out and put one of these in its place.
  9. Carry16


    Sep 7, 2004
    SW Missouri
    I live in SW Missouri and a new underground concrete shelter can be had for $3500 installed. Unless cash is a real problem, I wouldn't put my sister in a septic tank...:nailbiting:

    PS - I too was in VN from 1965-1966 - 1st Air Cav at Ahn Khe :wavey:

  10. Angry Fist

    Angry Fist Dehumanizer® Lifetime Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    Hellbilly Hill
    This little thing here can be done way cheaper than 3 grand. Minus the house foundation, of course.



    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  11. NecoDude


    Mar 22, 2011
    No Name City...

    First you wouldn't want her to go out into the weather, what if her timing is off and she's caught in between the house and the shelter. Second, concrete is porous so cleanliness is next to impossible unless coated.

    Good luck and hope everyone stays safe.
  12. JimIsland


    Aug 1, 2011
    I'll buy the septic tank from you.... it would work great for my Mother-In-Law!! lol
  13. Devans0


    Oct 26, 2011
    FEMA online has plans for building a shelter that is cheap. Might as well get some good out of all those tax dollars that the 1% isn't spending. :whistling:
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  14. crater

    crater NRA Member

    May 1, 2002
    brookville, ind
    Boy, do I feel like an idiot. What she meant to tell me was that it was an old cistern (sp) used for holding the water.

    I really do feel stupid but if that was all she had I was trying to help her. Now that you all have replied, I have gotten some good ideas but would appreciate your thoughts about using the newly mentioned tank.

    Rgds and thanks again....
  15. crater

    crater NRA Member

    May 1, 2002
    brookville, ind

    3rd Armored, Qui Nhon and Cam Rahn Bay. Thanks for your service and the support you gave us....
  16. NecoDude


    Mar 22, 2011
    No Name City...
    I'd still suggest different ingress/egress. A tunnel from the porch, something along those lines. But simplicity is the best.
  17. She is 70. Even a sprightly 70 year old will have trouble working your lid idea in a storm, and may not be able to open/close it at all in a strong wind. Then there is the fact that you are planning to remove the only part of the shelter actually exposed to the storm..

    How big is it? We have a pretty big sistern on our property, but it isn't anywhere big enough to spend time in.

    Again, what is her house construction? walk in closet can be hardened for not a whole lot of money, she doesn't have to go outside.. and hey this is S&P, with a little trying, you could come up with other reasons to have it in the house...

    On a side note.. I hope you and yours got through the storms OK..
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  18. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Knock a hole in the side of the cistern and put a heavy metal door in it. Put it into the side of a hill with the door facing SE. Use the hole in the top for ventilation.
  19. Carry16


    Sep 7, 2004
    SW Missouri
    You are quite welcome sir, and thanks for your service to our country as well.

  20. wrenrj1


    May 22, 2002
    I work in public health preparedness on the state level. Ironically, I was on a fox news website today that referred me to the FEMA website.

    They are not cheap, depending on your income level a retrofit costs $8-$10 grand. My folks are in their mid 70's but have a basement.