A restraining order placed against Tornado Masters in Toney has created a firestorm of concern in the Tennessee Valley. With last week's storms and tornado season quickly approaching, many of you have called WHNT News 19 to ask if your storm shelter is safe.
We are Taking Action to address that very question. You have good reason to be concerned, especially if you've paid good money for a fasle sense of security.
Investigators with the Alabama Attorney General's office say many of the company's tornado shelters have defects that could end up killing the people they're supposed to protect.
"We have talked with the Attorney General's office, and for our local resident there is a three-pronged approach that we are offering right now," said Michele Mason, President of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama.
If you've paid money to Tornado Masters and are waiting on an install, know this: It's not coming. Tornado Masters in Toney is temporarily shut down. The Attorney General's office says some of their shelters meet FEMA specifications and some don't.
If you have a Tornado Masters shelter already installed and have concerns, complaints or feel it's unsafe, call the Alabama Attorney General's office at 1-800-392-5658.
"Right now, knowing that we are in the middle of a very stormy season, you don't want to wait to make sure that the shelter you have is safe," said Mason.
Mason says there's something else to consider. If you have a shelter installed in your garage floor, make certain you have at least a 10-inch concrete foundation. Because if it's not that thick, that could be a major issue when it comes to stronger storms.
That leads us to peace of mind.
"What we are looking for is making sure shelters meet FEMA specifications," said Mason.
The Attorney General's office tells the BBB you may want to consider contacting a structural engineer to give you the official stamp of safety.
A critical point, considering the Tennesee Valley continues to be hit by the wrath of Mother Nature.
If you are planning to install a storm shelter at your home, regardless of the company, please make sure it meets current FEMA specifications. The Madison County Emergency Management Agency also offers this Q&A page for installing a home storm shelter.