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Oklahoma tornadoes: Demand for shelters rises after storms

Installers said more people are looking to put in storm shelters after a recent string of devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Published: May 26, 2011
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Daum became a salesman for the Tulsa area company after buying one of its shelters himself in 2004.

He asked a lot of questions while exploring his shelter options because he wanted to spend his money wisely.

Daum said he was impressed with the testing FamilySAFE conducted on its product to ensure it would be safe. He offered to let the company show off its shelter in his northwest Oklahoma City home and ended up joining its sales force.

Shaw said SmartSafe's most popular shelter is one mounted in the garage floor, but the company offers a variety of other options.

Shaw said the company's shelters sell for $3,500 to $5,000.

That kind of investment was worth it for Edmond resident Cyndy Hoenig, who sheltered more than a dozen people and even a few pets during Tuesday night's storms.

Hoenig put in an underground shelter after she moved back to Oklahoma in 2001 after spending 20 years in California. She added one above ground a year later because she didn't like going underground.

On Tuesday, Hoenig had so many people at her house that she and a friend were relegated to the laundry room because both of her shelters were full.

She said she gladly ceded her spot in a shelter to make sure there was room for her four daughters and eight grandchildren.

“It didn't really bother me,” Hoenig said. “I wanted those kids safe.”


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