New storm shelters becoming more popular

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KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - The threat of tornadoes is driving people to search for protection.

If twisters touch down tomorrow in east Tennessee, many plan to go underground to shelters.

We talked to one local provider who is installing fiberglass storm shelters, which are more popular than ever.

They first came to the market a few years ago, in the wake of devastating tornadoes in Greenback, Cumberland County, and Tellico Plains and other spots.

When Keith Bradford built his Loudon County home, Lifesaver Storm Shelter installed an eight-person safe haven under his garage.

"We sweat out enough tornadoes, that we wanted some place like a basement, some place to go," said Bradford.

That's why Steve Koons started selling the shelters, his business booms with the weather.

"And that's typically what happens is we get a large demand right after a storm like that. The key is to be prepared," said Koons.

The Bradfords keep theirs stocked with a radio and canned goods, but it's not meant to be a long-term stay.

"Typically you're going to spend an hour, maybe two hours, at the most hopefully," said Koons.

In case waiting out the storm takes longer, Bradford installed cable TV, a phone jack, and electricity in the shelter.

"Even though it's our prayer that we actually never need it, simply in terms of peace of mind and security, it's worth every penny," said Bradford.

Koons says that this is the best time of year to order shelters, and it would take about two weeks to install.

The shelters come in a range of sizes, to accommodate four to 20 people. The price starts at about $4,000.

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