‘A Tale of Two Homes’ – Tornado: One Family’s Personal Account of How Safe Rooms Save Lives

The Harrison Family leave their safe room following the 4/27/11 Alabama tornadoes.Today, we launched the latest in our successful educational Tale of Two Homes video series: A Tale of Two Homes – Tornado.  The video tells the remarkable story of the Harrison family of Athens, AL, who survived an EF-4 tornado that completely destroyed their home and most others in their neighborhood.  The Harrison’s and their two children emerged unscathed from their tornado safe room shortly after the tornado passed.  As a result, they have chosen to share their story of survival to further spread the message — safe rooms save lives.

A Father’s Decision to Build a Safe Room Saves His Family

Kevin and Sarabeth Harrison are convinced that they and their two young children are alive today thanks to the safe room they consciously decided to build into the corner of their garage.  Made of reinforced concrete block, the family took refuge as a tornado devastated their neighborhood and surrounding areas – killing 250 people in its path.  The Harrisons are still shocked to recall how 30 seconds of roaring winds forever altered the lives and landscape of their community.  “The tornado ran right on top of us,” Kevin Harrison said.

Tornado safe rooms save lives. The Harrison family’s experience is a perfect example. Their decision to take their safety into their own hands and build a safe room undoubtedly protected them from serious injury and possible death when the tornado hit Athens April 27, 2011.  Their willingness to share their story to encourage other families to build safe rooms makes them true heroes of the disaster safety movement

Give an Ordinary Room an Extraordinary Purpose

A safe room can provide ultimate life safety protection from the dangerous forces of severe winds and tornadoes.  Homeowners can build or retrofit the interior spaces of  their homes to safe-room standards or choose to purchase pre-fabricated safe rooms designed to withstand tornado-force winds.  Closets, bathrooms, laundry rooms and outdoor rooms like garden sheds and pool houses can be enhanced to serve as safe rooms.

A properly built safe room not only protects families from high-wind events, it also creates a multi-use space in the home that adds to its value.  Tornado safe rooms increase the sale price of a home by 3.5 percent or an average of $4,200.  For example, anyone who installs a tornado safe room in their home is able to recoup almost all of their investment when they sell. The price of a safe room can start around $3,500 to $4,000 depending on its size and built-in amenities. A $5,000 tornado safe room will provide an 84 percent return on investment.

Visit http://www.flash.org to see “A Tale of Two Homes — Tornado.”

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