National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) Disputes Moore Tornado Above Ground Safe Room Performance Claims

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Tornado Safety Group Says Statement by Granger Plastics Asserting Above-ground Tornado Safe Room Failures is Erroneous and Not in the Interest of Public Safety.

The evidence unequivocally demonstrates that above-ground safe rooms performed without failure during the Moore storms and delivered critical life safety to their occupants.

The National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) today called on Ohio-based Granger Plastics to retract a company news release dated March 4 that stated, “An underground shelter is still preferable to a safe room, because most safe rooms did not survive the Moore storms because the winds were consistently above the 250 mph mark.”

According to Matt Williams, who serves on the board of the National Storm Shelter Association, “The evidence unequivocally demonstrates that above-ground safe rooms performed without failure during the Moore storms and delivered critical life safety to their occupants.”

The National Storm Shelter Association's position is well-supported by research performed by engineer Larry Tanner of the Wind Research Institute at Texas Tech University who was quoted in a May 31, 2013, article by Bryan Dean of The Oklahoman:

"Tanner was among a team of researchers from the institute that toured the damaged areas after the Moore tornado. They examined how different types of structures held up in the storm, with particular attention given to storm shelters ... Tanner said researchers found 16 above ground safe rooms or storm shelters in the damage path or near the damage path of the storm. All survived. `They all performed great,' Tanner said. `We continue to have great success stories both in Joplin and in Oklahoma City.'"

Tanner has investigated tornado shelter performance in all major tornado outbreaks over the past 17 years, and his investigations document a record of consistently excellent performance of properly constructed and installed above-ground safe rooms.

The NSSA asserts that the best way to ensure shelters have been designed by a qualified engineer to meet FEMA guidelines and are tested by a qualified lab such as the Wind Research Institute at Texas Tech University, is to select an NSSA Producer Member as a storm shelter provider. Producer Members are required to meet rigorous tornado shelter quality assurance and ethical standards to qualify for membership and continue in good standing as members of the Association.

The primary purpose of the National Storm Shelter Association is to ensure the highest quality of manufactured and constructed storm shelters for protecting people from injury or loss of life from the effects of tornadoes, hurricanes and other devastating natural disasters. The NSSA has been in continuous existence since 2000.

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Matt Williams, Treasurer and Producer Member
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