East Texans 'playing it safe' with storm shelters


POSTED: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 9:44pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 9:45pm

Larry Smith owns Maverick Manufactured Homes.  He also installs storm shelters right here in East Texas.

"Our primary product line is fiberglass.  We do a concrete shelter and we do a steel shelter," Smith said.

Smith tells KETK, the FEMA-tested shelters can even be powered by electricity, solar, or battery.

Smith says it's a 'peace of mind' thing for his customers.

"You know that you're gonna be protected in that shelter...where if you're in a home, in a closet or a bathroom...you know, your house could get blown away...the shelter's not going anywhere," Smith said.

And he says a lot of people are deciding to play it safe.

"In fact, last year with all the tornado activity that we had, our business just probably tripled," Smith said.

KETK met up with Al and Gerry Herrington in Arp on Friday.

A tornado came through their land years ago and took out an entire barn.

So now they are thinking of putting a shelter right next to their back door.

"I went through the worst typhoons ever hit the pacific ocean in World War II...and I wasn't really afraid of stuff til I went through that.  Then I realized, there's lots of power...and we don't realize how bad it is," Herrington said.

Mr. Smith tells KETK that some builders are even contacting them wanting them to install shelters in the slab of a home they are building.

Another interesting fact, Smith says the fibeglass shelters he uses are actually built in Henderson.

We know storm shelters are not terribly abundant here in East Texas, but if you've got one, let us know about it -- send us a picture!

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If you've ever seen the path of destruction of a tornado from the air, you'd realize your odds of everbeing hit by one is very very small. Correction : Very very very small.

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