This is a Storm-Tek LS6, one of the underground safe rooms Tornado Shelter Systems offers. (Photo: Tornado Shelter Systems)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The devastation in Oklahoma have people all across Tornado Alley looking for ways to protect themselves and their family from the next storm.
The phones at Tornado Shelter Systems in Austin, Arkansas have been ringing off the hook with interested customers. Randy Parsley with Tornado Shelter Systems surveyed a home in West Little Rock Tuesday for a safe room installation.
Parsley said safe rooms are the latest in tornado safety.
"A safe room is exactly that. It's a safe place you can go when severe weather strikes," he explained.
Parsley said the tornado safe room is made from structural steel and anchored into the slab foundation. The rooms are scientifically tested to stand up against an EF-5 tornado, and the structure isn't reliant on any existing walls of a home.
"The safe room doesn't rely on the house for any protection, so it doesn't have to be against a wall," he said. "It can be anywhere it needs to be located as well as it's anchored to an adequate concrete slab."
He said not only will the safe room provide protection from flying debris, but also from falling objects.
"These are designed to withstand 100,000 pounds roof load, so when that 200-year-old oak tree beside your house that's three feet across falls over it's going to go through the house, but it's not going to go through that safe room," he added.
Parsley said the main thing it provides for homeowners is peace of mind. While a big event like the one in Oklahoma always sparks interest, Parsley said it's a good reminder of how quickly lives can change from a tornado.
"A storm always generates interest," he said. "It's those people who have been thinking about it to go ahead and commit."
A safe room for a family of four runs about $4 ,000 to $5,000 installed.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management offers homeowners a $1,000 credit for installing a safe room.