A benefit concert in May by top-selling band Lady Antebellum raised $235,000 to help tornado-ravaged Henryville, Ind., and the surrounding area. It also gave the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) a chance to raise awareness for storm safety.

"We've gotten the word out that storm shelters save lives," says Tim Smail, a FLASH engineer. "It's been a great experience, and the best part is that several families will be helped by the information and the generosity of the NSSA."

Both organizations handed out storm shelter and safety information during the benefit concert, and NSSA members donated eight shelters that will be used in Habitat for Humanity-constructed homes in the affected area. "We worked to get several types of shelters donated," says Mike Vaughan, vice president of NSSA and president of Vaughan Concrete Products, in Amarillo, Texas. "Our members came through and delivered everything from below-grade shelters to install under a garage floor, to above-ground freestanding units, and small shelters that can fit under a garage workbench."

Safety Rooms Up-Close

With home construction under way, the safe rooms were staged at a local church and were available for the public to stop by and see up-close. "We want people to realize when they build or rebuild that they want to build better using a product they know is safe," Vaughan says. "With shelters coming from NSSA member producers, you know you can rest easy."

From an engineering perspective, Smail says NSSA-approved storm shelters and their individual components go through rigorous testing to ensure they will withstand 250 mph winds and debris impact. "To harden a whole home to those levels would be economically unfeasible," Smail says. "But take a small room and stiffen it against these forces of extreme wind and debris, and it becomes affordable to protect your family and others." —Lauren Hunter, senior editor, REMODELING.