Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are important Questions and Answers that consumers should be aware of before the purchase of a commercial grade storm shelter.

Questions for The Manufacturer

Q1: Why is it important to have a storm shelter close to my house?

A: Contrary to common belief, having a storm shelter close to your house is crucial for safety. If you’re stuck inside during a tornado, it means the shelter did its job in protecting your life. Being close to your home ensures you’re not left exposed if your house is destroyed.

Q2: What is the significance of a buddy system during a tornado?

A: Establishing a buddy system is essential. In case of communication failures or being trapped, inform a designated buddy before entering your shelter. If they don’t hear from you, they can take necessary steps to ensure your safety, even if cell towers are down.

Q3: How does the buddy system work when there's no cell service?

A: In situations where cell towers are affected, the buddy system remains effective. Text your buddy before entering the shelter. If they don’t receive a follow-up message within a reasonable time, they can contact authorities, ensuring timely assistance.

Q4: Can my buddy be out of state?

A: Absolutely. Your buddy doesn’t need to be nearby. They can be out of state but should have the capability to alert local authorities if needed. This expands the support network, providing an extra layer of safety.

Q5: Why is it better to be stuck alive with someone knowing your location?

A: In emergency scenarios, it’s preferable to be “buried alive” with someone aware of your location than to be “buried dead” with no one knowing where you are. The buddy system ensures someone is informed and can take action to rescue you, enhancing overall safety.

Q6: Do you offer a Free Consultation?

A: We understand that starting a shelter project can be complicated, and we are committed to helping you out. That’s why we offer a free in-house consultation to discuss your case. We’ll work with you to create a personalized plan that’s right for you.

Q7: How long have you been manufacturing and installing storm shelters?

A: Southern Illinois Storm Shelters, Inc. has been producing and installing shelters since 1998.

Q8: Has your storm shelter been tested at Texas Tech University Wind Engineering Institute and if so what were the results?

A: In September of 2001, Southern Illinois Storm Shelters, Inc. had designed a door system that was subject to debris impact testing at TTU and was certified (supporting documents available upon request).

Q9: Have you ever had any storm shelters leak if guaranteed against and if so how many, and what did you do to correct the problem? Ask if you can speak to a few individuals whose shelter was repaired or replaced.

A: Southern Illinois Storm Shelters, Inc. has had 5 storm shelters leek since production in 1998 this is less than 2 percent of overall production of our product. All shelters were replaced with new models. References available from these customers. Southern Illinois Storm Shelters, Inc. stands behind its products!

Q10: Has your shelter been designed with the help of a qualified engineer?

A:Southern Illinois Storm Shelters, Inc. had extensive help in design and development from a local University School Of Engineering on our new design.

Q11: Even though your shelters have a guarantee are they manufactured with materials that will rot such as wood?

A: Southern Illinois Storm Shelters, Inc. manufactures all cored areas such as floor and door with a space age honeycomb plastic.

Q12: Have you ever had a shelter installed where a tornado has struck?

A: In April of 2011 6 years after installing a Lifesaver Storm Shelter, a customer in Tanner, Al., along with 7 other occupants was in their shelter when an F5tornado struck, the shelter showed no signs of damage and its occupants were not harmed.

Q13: Some competitors say fiberglass is old technology and is not a superior product.

A: Our 15+ year track record speaks for itself. There are thousands of fiberglass shelters in the ground and have been for 30+

Rebate FAQs

Do I qualify for a shelter rebate?

If you own or are buying your home, you don’t live in a flood plain and your property is not a historical site, then you can qualify for a rebate on that property.

  1. Check with your local planning commission to see if they have a rebate available for your county.
  2. Get a rebate application from the planning commission.
  3. Fill out a rebate application and mail it in to your local planning commission.
  4. The planning commission will process your information then send you a letter that says “Congratulations you have received a rebate”.

What do I do when I get the rebate?

After you have received a rebate letter from your commission call Texas Storm Shelter Guy to install your shelter.

  1. After you have received a rebate letter from your commission call Texas Storm Shelter Guy to install your shelter.
  2. After the shelter is installed, make sure that the shelter company helps you turn in all the required paperwork for the rebate.
  3. Some rebate programs will allow you to pay your half of the shelter and sign the rebate over to that company. Ask your shelter company if this is an option.
  4. All our members will know what paperwork to file for your rebate.

FEMA/ICC 500 Standards


Based on Criteria Listed in Federal Emergency Management Agency publication
FEMA 320 /August 2008;
ICC 500-2008 ICC/NSSA Standard For The Design and Construction of Storm Shelters;
ASTM E 1886-05 Standard Test Method for Protective Systems Impacted by Missiles
NPCTS -National Performance Criteria for Tornado Shelters


ICC 500 Sect 502.2

Access Opening — Requires access opening minimum size 24″ wide x 30″ long. 

All STORM SHELTERS exceed requirement

ICC 500 Sect 502.3.1

Vertical Access — Requires minimum tread depth 8″ and maximum riser height 9-9/16″

All STORM SHELTERS exceed requirement

ICC 500 Sect 502.3.1

Vertical Access — Requires minimum Stair width 22″ and slip resistant surface.

All STORM SHELTERS exceed requirement

ICC 500 Sect 502.3.1

Overhead Clearance — Requires minimum overhead clearance 6′-8″ or 5′-0″ with signage.

All STORM SHELTERS exceed requirement

ICC 500 Sect 502.3.1.2

Handrail required on stairways having more than three stairs.

All STORM SHELTERS have a continuous handrail on one side of stairway.

ICC 500 Sect 502.4

Occupant Density — Requires minimum 3 sq ft usable shelter area per occupant.

All STORM SHELTERS exceed requirement.

FEMA 320 & 361

Requires minimum 3 hinge attachment points and 3 positive latch points.

All STORM SHELTERS have full length hinge with 3 point lock system


Requires exterior key accessibility for post storm Emergency Entry by EMS personnel if needed when latches are engaged from the inside.

All STORM SHELTERS exceed requirement. Emergency access can be made by removal of full length hinge from outside with 2- 7/16” wrenches.

ICC 500 Sect 302303/304

Loads and load combinations, Hydrostatic loads, wind loads, required for the construction of shelters

All STORM SHELTERS have been tested by a third party engineering firm for underground structural design. All models  exceed the requirements.

ICC 500 Sect 305/306500 Sect 804
FEMA 320/361
ASTM E 1886

Windborne Debris Hazards — Requires tornado shelters exposed surfaces to be designed tested to emulate wind speeds of 250 mph. 15-lb sawn lumber 2×4 missiles impacting exposed surfaces less than 30 degrees from horizontal at 67 mph and exposed vertical surfaces at 100 mph.


ICC 500 Sect 702.1

Requires 2 sq. in. or 4 sq. in. of natural ventilation based on location of ventilation ports per occupant.

All STORM SHELTERS manufactured to meet or exceed ventilation requirements.

Secure Your Family

Your Trusted Partner in Family Safety.