When a string of devastating storms hit the U.S. last week, the result was more than 342 deaths and a swath of destruction that stretched across multiple states.
A majority of damage was done by tornados, which have the power to level nearly everything in their path. The 312 tornadoes from last week, which includes a record-setting 226 in one day alone, did exactly that, leaving homes and lives destroyed.
The storms have left many wondering if they could have been better prepared, and brought storm shelters to the forefront as residents in tornado-prone areas across the U.S. have begun to worry about their own safety. WTVA, a local NBC affiliate in Mississippi, ran a story highlighting the newfound focus on storm shelters in the area. The story features a shelter made by NPCA member Lee’s Precast Concrete Inc. in Aberdeen, Miss., that can withstand winds up to 250 mph. Allen Lee said the phone at his business has been ringing off the hook ever since the storm.
The use of precast concrete structures for protection from storms is nothing new. For years, states and cities have used precast buildings to house critical infrastructure such as phone and electric utilities, to reduce the havoc in the aftermath of a storm. Precast structures are also commonly used for bathrooms in parks and other public places, and can come preinstalled with electrical and plumbing, reducing installation time to mere hours.
Precast can be utilized on a grander scale for buildings that house a large number of people, such as hospitals and senior centers, as well. In one example of the protection precast concrete can offer, the Mississippi Division of Tindall Corp. produced architectural cladding pieces for an Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, Miss., that can withstand 200 mph-plus winds.
If you’re interested in using precast structures or learning more about them, you can find a full listing of NPCA-member precasters in your area on our website.