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Shelters will be a highlight of next weekend's Home & Outdoor Living Show

Show manager RaeAnn Saunders said that nearly 20 storm shelter companies will be exhibiting at the show March 21-23.
By Tim Fall, For The Oklahoman Modified: March 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm •  Published: March 15, 2014

Rita Chandler got a big wake-up call when she stepped outside her Norman house after the 2011 Blanchard tornado and found her yard littered with debris.

“It was enough to really shake me up,” said Chandler, who took the proximity of that deadly EF-4 twister as a sign that it was time to find a safer place to live.

She’s still in Oklahoma so there are no guarantees, but Chandler’s new house is farther north and closer to family — two factors that help with her sense of security — and it had a perfect spot for her to install a new Kevlar-lined shelter in the garage.

Her particular type of shelter, the Dupont Stormroom with Kevlar, installed locally by Oklahoma Storm Rooms LLC, will be among the shelters and safe rooms featured at the 2014 Home & Outdoor Living Show next weekend at State Fair Park.

Philip Slater, a residential contractor who took over Oklahoma Storm Rooms about a year and a half ago, said he’s eager to show the Dupont system to homeowners and homebuilders who are in the market for storm security ideas.

Show manager RaeAnn Saunders said that nearly 20 storm shelter companies will be exhibiting at the show March 21-23.

In addition to shelters, the show will feature storm preparedness education, offering show attendees information on how to build a disaster preparedness kit and develop an action plan for their family.

The American Red Cross will provide information about storm shelter grants and funding for homeowners trying to rebuild from last year’s storms.

Chandler’s shelter is an 8-by-10-foot room that now takes up one space in her three-car garage. It is drywalled on the interior and wired for cable TV.

“There’s room for my sister and niece” who live nearby, she said. And when it’s not in use during severe weather — that is, most of the time — “my niece thinks it’s a fun place to play.”

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