On March 10, 1992, a category F-3 tornado caused many dollars worth of damage, injured 57 and killed three people from the Long Creek Community Development Club area.
Twenty-two years later, members from the Long Creek Community Development Club met at their clubhouse for their monthly meeting. The club listened intently to significant details Butch Lewis shared about storm shelters he sells in the Lauderdale County and surrounding areas. The shelters, manufactured by the Patrick Allen Company, are built in Scottsboro, Ala., by Valley Storm Shelters.
Lewis said the company's above-ground and below-ground shelters are the most reputable, strongest, and overall best storm shelters money can buy.
“We sell safety,” he said.
All shelters have a stamp of approval from the National Storm Shelter Association and are designed and engineered by highly qualified professionals, then tested at Texas Tech University.
“There is a video on our website you can watch that shows a 3,500 pound car drive into an above ground storm shelter,” Lewis said.
The car was pummeled. The shelter was undamaged. Then, a car was lifted 70 feet above the shelter and released. Again, the car was pummeled. Again, the shelter was undamaged, he said.
The above-ground shelters can withstand a category F-5 tornado because it is made of ?” plate steel with 4” C channel reinforcements and at least a 15” thick concrete pad with a bolt every 12 inches which can handle 10,000 pounds of pressure per bolt. There is also 3,000-pound down force security at each end.
Above ground shelters are grounded, and can have windows installed. They also are handicap accessible and can be transferred to another location, Lewis said.
Ventilation systems with 12-volt backup battery and charger are available for both above- and below-ground shelters.
Below-ground garage model storm shelters are made of steel with hydraulic emergency escape lid.
"Our fiberglass shelters also exceed FEMA and MEMA standards," Lewis said.
Shelters range from 3’ x 8’ to 6’ x 12’ and can hold up to 25 people. Each shelter can be registered with 911.
“There’s not a better shelter on the market,” he said Lewis.
The club's April 14 meeting will be for sponsors, beginning at 6 p.m. at 4892 Zero Road. Residents of the Long Creek community are encouraged to join the club at no charge.
• Submitted by Jill Renee Walsh, reporter.