This news update will address storm shelter related topics concerning the FEMA grant program, basic educational data concerning storm shelters and other topics related to the April 27th tornado.
Entries in Storm Shelters (3)
The F scale was developed by Dr. Theodore Fujita in order to relate the degree of damage due to high winds, to the intensity of the wind. This scale rated tornadoes from a F0 to F5, with each category representing a wind speed range. Since wind speed is not easily measured, it was estimated by evaluating the damage after a tornado or high wind event. The fallacy in this method was that the damaged structures building materials and strength were not considered.
The EF scale was developed and is a more precise way to classify wind events. This scale uses 28 different types of damage indicators, such as building materials, when evaluating the damage after a tornado or other strong wind.
For a very detailed explanation of the EF Scale click here.
Unfortunately I have put on hold installing shelters because of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission deciding that they should regulate storm shelters. This is a classic example a governmental entity making things difficult with no benefit to the regulated community. Shelters are in no way similar to manufactured houses or buildings and this commission does not have the expertise to regulate them. What they do have is the ability to require shelter manufacturers and installers to pay them a fee per shelter to affix their stickers to the shelter. This is in addition to the $1,000 plus annual fees, mandatory training and bonds that must be acquired to meet their code. Last year this Commission filled out a form to change thier code because the previously mentioned stickers must be placed near the electrical panel. Since most shelters did not have electricity, the code had to be changed to funnel shelters into their grasp. They also stated this change in code would have no economic impact or increase in the cost of goods.
These regulations will do one of two things. I will either close my business, or have to increase the price of shelters approximately 10% to cover the fees and bond requirements. It is not fair to the citizens of Alabama to have to pay this tax on an already expensive product. Out of state manufacturers have simply said that they will pull out of Alabama if these regulations hold.
Thankfully, Senator Paul Bussman introduced a bill (sb136) which will exempt individual storm shelters from these regulations. This bill passed through the Senate with no opposition and is now before the House (hb288) being scheduled for a vote. Representative Buttram is the house sponsor. Please take the time to contact your representative and ask them to support HB288. Click on the link below and type in your zip to find your representative.
The "storm shelter bill", SB136 was sent to Governor Bentley for his signature. Please contact the governors office (334) 242-7100, to voice your support of the bill and his signature.
I spoke with one of Governor Bently's assistants today who informed me that the bill was signed.