FOX13 Investigates: Protect your family from tornadoes

by: Joey Sulipeck Updated:

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When a tornado threatens you or your family, the safest place to be is underground, such as a basement.

However, the Mid-South has very few basements.

So the question is: How real is the threat of a tornado affecting you? And, what are you doing to stay safe?

Research shows tornadoes are very real threat to Memphis and the surrounding communities.

A recent study of tornadoes from 1880-2004 revealed where most tornadoes fatalities occur: and the bullseye? It’s right here in the Mid-South. 


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Stephanie Jones and her family take that seriously.

In 2005, Jones spent $5,000 to install a storm shelter in her family’s garage.

“Tornadoes are a way of life, so we have to take them seriously. You’re talking about your family’s life,” said Jones.

Jones’ family has shelter from a storm. But finding others was difficult. Most Mid-South homes don’t have a basement or shelter.

We searched and found a contractor who builds storm shelters in the Mid-South.

Eric Tucker has been building homes for more than 30 years and is working on an above ground storm shelter in a new home. With air, drainage and more the room has been designed to stand strong even if the entire house collapses on top of it.

Tucker said his experience has shown that when building a home most people decide that a safe place during a storm is something they can live without.

“People tend to spend their money where they can use it and see it. And when it comes down to it everybody has a budget and when it comes down to cutting some things off the budget table the storm room is typically the first line of fire,” Tucker said.

It’s definitely an investment --- but when you need it. It’s worth every penny.

“Oh, it’s life insurance. That’s all it is. It’s life insurance. You pay for it once, instead of you know, every year. You pay for it once and you have peace of mind forever. You know what, you might not ever need it, but if you do there it is,” Jones said.