Has the shelter been tested and approved? Some manufacturers “say” their shelter can withstand an EF5 tornado, even though the unit has not been tested by the Texas Tech Wind Science & Engineering Research Center to meet FEMA standards.
Does the anchoring bolt system provide at least 45,000 lb hold down? Some use standard grade anchors that do NOT provide adequate protection from the immense lifting force of a tornado.
Does the shelter door use standard door locks that do not meet FEMA standards? Many do, but the Hide-Away™ uses three separate locking bolts, that are one inch in diameter, for superior locking and protection.
Does the shelter fold to within 19” of a wall when not in use, and do you need to have a large portion of a concrete slab dedicated to the shelter?
What grade bolts are used to hold the components together? Some use grade 8, which is brittle and can shatter. The Hide-Away uses grade 5 bolts, which is less subject to shattering, and are tested to meet FEMA standards for protection against an EF5 tornado.
How thick is the steel used in the walls, and has it been tested by Texas Tech to meet FEMA guidelines? The Hide-Away™ uses .250” thick, grade 50 steel. Some use a lighter 3/16” (.188”), or 10 gauge (.134”) thick, lesser-grade steel.
Does the shelter have 2” x 2” steel internal support structure tested and approved to meet FEMA standards? Some are just “C” channel with thin skins welded over them.
Is the shelter finish a high quality powder coated finish? Some use inferior paint that will chip, scratch and rust more easily.
Is a “Ballistic” proof option available?
Is the manufacturer’s warranty for the shelter 5 years? Some are only 1 year, some have none. Read the fine print.
Is the shelter wheelchair accessible? Most are not.
Does the manufacturer offer professional installation of the shelter? Many are DIY only.
Is the shelter made in a state of art manufacturing facility, or in someone’s garage?