Storm shelters becoming increasingly popular

Storm shelters becoming increasingly popular
Safe rooms becoming more popular. Photo credit WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS - After the recent storms in the South, storm shelters are becoming increasingly popular. The rooms, usually made of steel or concrete, are safe rooms for families when a tornado passes through.

Homeowner Dave Martin and his wife recently purchased a shelter, and after Tuesday the couple was relieved to see it in their garage.

"(Tuesday) I was wondering if we were going to have a house to put the shelter in, but it's something that's got to be done," Martin said.

The Martins chose to go with an above ground shelter, but underground shelters are available. According to the owner of Torshel storm shelters, Israel Martinez, it is all about personal preference.

"I always advise people to do research first," Martinez said. "There are several companies and different options. It also depends on if they have a garage or if they have a mobile home. The important thing is to get something that meets FEMA specifications."

In 2011, storms hit several different counties in Mississippi. MEMA made grants available for those looking for storm shelters. The state reimbursed "up to 75 percent of the eligible costs not to exceed $4,000 for a single-family safe room"."

The grants expired, but the state still encourages people to buy storm shelters. More information on safe rooms can be found on the Mississippi emergency management website.