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Tue May 21, 2013, 09:10 AM

Would a steel shipping container make a good storm shelter?



I'm thinking it could be a relatively cheap short term solution to making storm shelters available. If you drove a piling and anchored the container I think it might fare well as they are made of 1/4" corrugated steel with much thicker boxed corners complete with lift points engineered to bear the entire container load which would obviously serve as anchor points.

Just throwing it out there that maybe 20' containers in a checkerboard pattern so that it's 100-200 yards from the farthest house could provide coverage for a community.

Looking for the image, there are some available used for a few thousand.

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Arrow 26 replies Author Time Post
Reply Would a steel shipping container make a good storm shelter? (Original post)
hootinholler May 2013 OP
Wounded Bear May 2013 #1
Cooley Hurd May 2013 #2
MNBrewer May 2013 #7
ananda May 2013 #13
sinkingfeeling May 2013 #17
malaise May 2013 #3
hootinholler May 2013 #6
Marrah_G May 2013 #4
Greybnk48 May 2013 #5
newfie11 May 2013 #8
madokie May 2013 #9
Uben May 2013 #10
MuseRider May 2013 #11
Bosso 63 May 2013 #12
cynatnite May 2013 #14
IADEMO2004 May 2013 #15
wundermaus May 2013 #16
Socialistlemur May 2013 #18
texasmomof3 May 2013 #19
Ilsa May 2013 #20
SidDithers May 2013 #21
capt Mike May 2013 #22
hrmjustin May 2013 #23
sl8 May 2013 #24
SoCalDem May 2013 #25
Turbineguy May 2013 #26

Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:12 AM

1. That actually might work....

I remember a while ago there were thousands of them just kind of sitting around.

Edited to add, you could partially bury them, too to help with securing them from getting rolled.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:12 AM

2. Only if you bury it.

Yesterday's tornado would shred it, no matter how you have it anchored.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #2)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:16 AM

7. +1

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #2)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:33 AM

13. Agree.

You'd have to put it in the ground.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #2)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:56 AM

17. +10

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:12 AM

3. I seem to remember photos of some of them flying in the middle of a tornado last year

At over 200mph all bets are off unless you're underground

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Response to malaise (Reply #3)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:15 AM

6. Yes, but those weren't anchored

Putting a mound of earth/rubble around one is a good addition.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:13 AM

4. I think the problem there is the wind

Maybe if you covered it over with a dome of earth?

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:15 AM

5. Not in this storm.

Last night they showed that this storm picked up a massive holding tank and carried it quite a distance. You need to go underground.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:17 AM

8. We have a concrete storm shelter

Buried in the front yard. We live in western NE.

I would be concerned that anything above the ground could be anchored strongly enough. I think if it was underground it would work with some changes.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:19 AM

9. If its stuck in the ground it will

Might could leave a bit of it out but not the whole thing. Those things are tough but a tornado is tougher and up to the task of tossing it around.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:19 AM

10. In an EF-5, it would make a huge coffin!

People just can't imagine the power of 200 mph+ winds. This storm tore the grass out of the ground and bent huge steel beams.
GO UNDERGROUND! A small concrete shelter buried would be much safer.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:29 AM

11. I certainly would not want to be in one

even if it was buried somewhat. It would have to be buried deeply to be secure but even then, how thick are the walls to those containers? I doubt they are meant to be able to stop a steel beam being driven into the ground at 200MPH. Much smaller tornadoes can drive grass blades hard enough to imbed them into the walls of houses.

Picked up and tossed around would likely kill or severely injure those inside.

Keep looking, solutions that are accessible and affordable are needed. The states like OK and mine, KS, are not going to take care of anyone who needs help and they don't care who gets blown away or if they have to move away. People need to be able to care for themselves as it is not always the person who is the rugged individualist, it is the state who forces them to be by leaving them completely on their own.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:32 AM

12. Used ones flood

My mom's house flooded and they had the stuff that didn't get destroyed taken out and put in a shipping container on their property.
The creek rose again after the Joplin storm, and 18 inches of water destroyed a lot of what had been "saved" .

Put on high ground , buried in earth, add lightning rods.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:34 AM

14. Nope. You'd be spam in a can. n/t

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:41 AM

15. 200 mph wind is one thing but

a 200 mph house or car flying in the wind is a whole other issue. Get underground

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 09:41 AM

16. absolutely...

Relatively inexpensive, abundant prefab emergency shelter / storage unit if semi (berm) or completely buried.

Shipping Container As An Underground Shelter -

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 10:03 AM

18. Anchor and reinforce, it should work.

If the container is properly anchored and it has additional reinforcement it should work. If you bury it then rust will be a problem in the long term. I'd say the best solution would be to anchor it using piles and cables, cut 8 each 10 cm poles and bury them about 1 meter in the ground, so they stick out about two meters. These will help cushion impact from very large flying objects. Weld three inverted u shape I beam reinforcements spaced about 1 meter apart at the rear end (this is where you will sit) and if you want it to look nice line it with fiberglass or wood paneling. If you look at "cargo camp" using a search engine you will see these are used. I've stayed in them in remote areas. Some are used for mountain climber shelters, and I heard a hotel in Mauritius is assembled from such units. They are handy because a heavy lift helicopter can carry them almost anywhere.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 10:07 AM

19. have you ever seen a clean foundation...

from a huge home that has been through a tornado? There was a much smaller one in my home town in Mississippi 10-11 years ago. Maybe an F2 and it cleared several foundations from homes that were 3,000 sq foot homes. They looked like they hadn't even been built on so no this container unless under ground doesn't stand a chance.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 10:10 AM

20. Then the anchoring could tear it apart, I bet.

Whatever is used to anchor it would possibly shred the container or simply break under the pressure exerted on moving the container.

I really think underground is the way to go. And if possible, I think homes should be built with shelters, if possible according to the geology.

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 10:13 AM

21. Good thought...

But I think flying debris would punch right through 1/4 steel.

Sid

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 12:44 AM

22. done this

I done this about4 years ago, never had to test it out thank God, however I didn't use any type of poles for anchors, I had 3/8" steel welded on bottom sides protruding out two foot all the way around sunk it in the ground 5 foot put 6" of concrete around it then mounded earth around it. The whole thing cost less then 2500 bucks. I don't think it will go anywhere. I put a concrete ramp going down the five foot with a 6' pad at the doors with drains and plumbed them back to a pond on the lower part of my property with backflow preventors in the lines. I use in for storage mostly but still have enough for my family and some neighbors. I even put in snorkels,one more thing you have to modify the doors, can't swing them out in case of debris.mine slide to the side then fold inward. Hope this helps.

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Response to capt Mike (Reply #22)

Wed May 22, 2013, 12:51 AM

23. Welcome to DU my friend!

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:31 AM

24. The walls are typically 14 gauge (.0747 "), not 1/4". n/t

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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 06:51 AM

25. better than a bathtub behind drywall, pine 2 x 4s & aluminum siding

Here's a video showing how to do it






http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022880393

A viable underground shelter need not be a "traditional" basement


Anything underground can save your life.

They are not that complicated, and they surely save lives.

I am from Kansas, so I know a bit about tornadoes.. Our house was hit in 1968 .. (3 came thru between 1 AM to 3 AM)

You go below ground and you wait.. even if it's hot & sticky & there are spiders & bugs..or if it's a muddy dirt floor and there are no lights..and the kids are crying & the cat is yowling & the dog is whining & panting like a maniac..


if you value life, you have a BELOW ground shelter of some kind.. It's not a place you regularly hang out in,, you may never use it, and when you do, you may only be in the place for less than an hour...a wise use of your time.


Maybe you'll never use it, and it just sits there "mocking you" for "wasting" that money
simple:





interesting




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variations




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Response to hootinholler (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 07:22 AM

26. On containerships

it's not unusual to see the forward row blow out or one side cave in.

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