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Preparing For Tornado Season With Storm Shelters

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- It's around this time of year in transition from winter to spring when people begin to prepare for tornado season.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- It's around this time of year in transition from winter to spring when people begin to prepare for tornado season.

Since the Branson and Joplin tornadoes, public awareness about storm preparedness has increased.

"The folks that are out there- it has changed their thinking to be aware that it can happen at any time, it can happen at a moment's notice," Dale Moore of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management.

With this greater knowledge comes a growth in demand for residential safe rooms. Once first tornado siren of the season goes off, businesses will see an influx in business.

Gone are the days of underground trap door safe rooms the size of walk-in closets-- storm shelters now come in different sizes, designs, and materials-- primarily steel and concrete.

Prices of safe rooms have stayed about the same-- a 4x6 foot storm "in" or "above-ground" shelter,  would cost you about $4000 to $5000. F.E.M.A. guidelines require storm shelters to allocate three to five square feet per person.

Moore said technology developments in storm detection have helped with storm warnings, but individual preparation is key.

"Planning is key," said Moore. "You don't want to be five minutes out of a storm and wonder what do I do?"

For those who cannot afford storm shelters, Moore said he recommends going to the inner most parts of your home, like bathrooms and utility rooms, or any other place away from windows and exterior walls.
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