National Storm Shelters
American Red Cross
Donate to the Red Cross disaster relief, and we’ll match every donation, dollar for dollar.*
Authorized Dealers: NSS Dealers | Login

615-2BE-SAFE

615-223-7233
National Storm Shelters, LLC
700 Swan Dr. Smyrna TN

Tornado Shelter Safety FAQ's


How do I keep my family safe during a tornado?

Get a complete tornado safety guide and family plan to help you survive a tornado.

Thinking of purchasing a storm shelter? Start here.

Before you buy, research your options and have no doubts about your investment. Free consultation!

Compare safe rooms and tornado shelters.

Read our full product guide to understand the difference in manufacturing, pricing, installation and more.

Storm Shelters Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I access my shelter with my car parked in the garage?

A. Yes, as long as you have approximately 2-3 feet to walk behind the car with the garage door closed.

Q. How many people will the shelter hold?

A. The shelter accommodates 6-8 depending on size and number of adults, children, pets, etc. FIMA requires 3 sq. ft. per person.

Q. Does driving over or parking on my storm shelter damage it?

A. Driving over or parking on the shelter will not damage it. The ¼ inch reinforced steel lid is built to withstand 4000 lb wheel weight. No two (2) wheels will be on the lid at one time. Parking on the lid WILL prohibit you from accessing your shelter.

Q. What is a "come along winch" or egress device?

A. We include a 4000 lb. "come along winch" in each shelter. The winch provides you a manual egress (exit) out of the shelter should fallen debris jam the lid bearings and prohibit you from easily sliding the lid open.

Q. Is there room for my pets?

A. National Storm Shelters, LLC understands the importance of our family pets... You can carry smaller pets down into the unit as you enter. You may also put the smaller pet into a pet carrier, as they will also be stressed. We suggest you work with larger animals to familiarize them with entering and exiting the unit.

Q. Will my cell phone work inside the shelter?

A. Cell phone reception depends on your cell phone carrier.

Q. How is the shelter ventilated?

A. The one piece lid includes a NSSA/FEMA 320 Approved Standard vent. The shelter lid sits ¼ inch above the surface of the shelter. This provides 360 degree ventilation.

Q. Will the shelter take in water?

A. It is possible for water to get in the unit. The shelter is not air tight. It is raised slightly and has a sloped finish to assist in preventing water runoff when washing out your garage. Simply wipe down the shelter if this should occur.

Q. Is this shelter safe against severe storms and tornadoes?

A. National Storm Shelter, LLC in ground storm shelter meets or exceeds FEMA 320 Standard to withstand an F5 or greater tornados. It is in compliance with the applicable provisions of the ICC-500 Design Standard/NSSA criteria, and has been successfully tested at Texas Tech Wind Engineering Research Center.

Q. How long does it take to complete the installation?

A. We allow one day for installation.

Q. Does the install leave a mess for us to clean up?

A. The install teams do an excellent job in keeping the work area clean. Without fail, our customers always comment on how neat our installs teams leave the work area when they have completed the install?

Q. Can my foundation be damaged during my install?

A. The install teams will not perform any action that would jeopardize the integrity of the foundation or structure.

Q. Can the shelter be installed in my carport?

A. Yes, with some modification on the install. If the carport is not enclosed, it is not possible to protect the shelter from outside elements, (i.e. water runoff, snow etc). This type of install does void the warranty.

Q. Are your storm shelters endorsed by FEMA and National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA)?

A. National Storm Shelters belowground shelters have been TESTED and APPORVED by National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) Lubbock TX & Texas Tech University (TTU) to meet or exceed all of the NSSA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "Standard" (FEMA 320/ICC 500). Our shelters have been tested by "Third Party" Engineering Group both in Texas and Alabama to meet and or exceed the same standard. Our Shelter past "ALL" testing on the first test with no reservations.

Q. Would I be trapped inside my shelter if my car gets shifted on to the shelter lid, or the roof collapses on top of my shelter during a severe storm or tornado?

A. If debris has fallen on your lid, it is still possible for you to manually open the lid with the "come-along winch".

Q. Can I get out of my shelter if the roof or fallen debris collapses on the lid?

A. The "come along winch" enables you to manually slide the lid open with tons of debris around the shelter.

Q. Were your storm shelters designed by a qualified engineer and tested?

A. Our in-house engineer team developed and drew the plans for our units. A NSSA approved third party engineer evaluation was performed. Our unit was approved by the third party engineer and successfully tested at Texas Tech Wind Engineering Institute Impact Testing Facility as a pre-requisite to acceptance into NSSA approval.

Q. Can the shelter be installed in my back yard?

A. The shelter's lid is not water tight and needs to be installed in an enclosed area to prevent exposure of outside elements. The unit also needs to be installed with an existing slab in place.

Q. Can I wire my shelter for electricity?

A. National Storm Shelters, LLC does not suggest wiring for electricity in your storm shelter. Battery operated lights are included with your shelter.