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Central Ohio Families Turn To Underground Shelters To Stay Safe

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UPDATED: Tuesday February 11, 2014 9:39 PM

In recent years we have seen coverage of major tornados in Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma.  

At home, people have been struggling with damaging straight line winds and a derecho. All of this has some residents considering having a safe place in their home or on their property - if they don’t already have one.

10TV spoke with Carla Camp, who acted on her family’s fears.  For many years Carla and her family have lived in a home on an open field in Fayette County.

Their home has no basement and no real protection from the severe weather, and they are all too aware it happens here in Ohio.

Camp says her husband’s family was in the Xenia tornado in 1974. His relatives did survive but 34 people lost their lives.

Video from that day reminds the Camp family how violent storms can be, and what could possibly come their way.

The Camp’s were tired of worrying about it though.  So steps from their house, they installed an underground safe room.

Now all the Camp family has to do is open the hatch and walk downstairs out of harm’s way.

It’s made of ten gauge steel with reinforcement.

Survive-A-Storm Shelters made the prefabricated shelter, shipped it, and excavated an area to accommodate the unit. The Camp family’s seats eight people.

Survive-A-Storm’s Matt Williams described it.  He said, “The shelter is built to FEMA guidelines which provides near absolute protection against an EF 5 tornado.”

Williams also says his company does panic rooms.

Those can include bullet proof panels, security systems, cell phones, and sometimes camera surveillance. They give their clients a safe place to retreat in the event of an intruder.

“The panic rooms are becoming more popular in the areas containing high net worth individuals, coupled with the risk of tornados,” said Williams.

It is risk that motivated Carla to apply for Ohio’s  safe room rebate lottery.

A letter arrived that told Camp she was one of 150 people who won; meaning FEMA dollars through a state program covered about 85 percent of the cost of her escape place.

Now, when skies grow dark Camp’s daughter doesn't ask where they will go - they know.

“For that peace of mind, knowing that if something happens we have some place to go. It’s well worth it.”

The retailer 10TV spoke with says its safe rooms start at about $4,500 and can run up to $10,000.  Panic rooms can cost 30 to 50 percent more than that.

The homeowner in this story received a substantial rebate for her safe room through a special program.  The Ohio EMA says that rebate likely will happen again, but it can’t say when.  You can check their website at EMA.OHIO.gov.

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