How to know if your storm cellar is safe

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The weather is tranquil across Region 8 now, but that can change in an instant. When it does, you need to know if your storm cellar is safe.  Many people across the area have storm cellars.

They can be a lifesaver for anyone who's experienced a tornado, but have you ever thought about whether the one you have is structurally sound or not?

Chris hedger with Hedger Brothers Incorporated said the material that makes up the storm shelter is very secure.

"Because the top still has rebar and wire and fiber mesh in there.  It's not going to come down on top of you.  It may break and that would be about the extent of it," said Hedger.

If you have a crack in your cellar wall, don't worry because Hedger said the problem can be easily fixed.

"It's still safe to be in.  We'll come out and what they usually do with a crack is they'll saw it out and put a filler in there and stop it so it won't leak anymore for you," said Hedger.

However, water leaking into your cellar may not be a problem due to a step taken during the installation process.

Hedger said, "It's surrounded with wash-rock around it to keep the water away from it. So that way it will drain and you shouldn't have to worry about water getting inside with you."

Hedger said a black coating that's water repellant can also be applied to the outside of the cellar to keep it from leaking.

If you've seen the movie twister, you'll remember that a tornado ripped the door off a cellar. But how secure are the doors?

"They're made into the concrete itself and they've got lips that fit in the concrete that the concrete is poured on. So they can't come out."

If you are interested in getting a storm cellar, but can't afford one, there is a state program available that helps pay part of the cost. You can contact your county office of emergency management director to find out more.

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