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Tornado Shelter for Under $200

Written by Gary North on May 30, 2014

This is a DYI project that could save your life if you live in tornado country, and you have no basement.

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26 thoughts on “Tornado Shelter for Under $200

  1. BraveNative says:

    Funny !!

  2. Holy Shirt says:

    The D-I-Y Tornado Shelter video casts a whole new light on the subject of White Trash!

  3. Random Dude says:

    As soon as it rains or snows, I bet those buried trash cans get flooded. Also, I would be worried about suffocation in one of those things, that's not a whole lot of air.

  4. J. Bowman says:

    Tornadic winds would rip that plastic top off and probably suck you right out of the trash

  5. It's better than being in that mobile home.

  6. sixslugs@aol.com says:

    Who comes up with this crap????????

  7. sixslugs@aol.com says:

    Shelter and coffin all in one.

  8. It would be the last place I would take shelter in! If you do get inside and becomed trapped, chunk the whistle and dial for help on your Apple! If you are your being sucked out of the trap dial 911 and give your last known location on lift off! Good grief!

  9. Is this some sort of stupid joke? Why even broadcast this stupid idiotic crap?

  10. MAKAHAYAN says:


  11. Unkle Grandpa says:

    L M F A O! White Trash! That is hilarious! But seriously, that is an extremely dangerous DIY Project. Mr.
    Gary North had better put a disclaimer after this article!

  12. Concerned American says:

    This is ridicules. Trash cans in concrete are ok, but the top needs to be reinforced heavy metal that latches down. The bicycle helmet is made of plastic and is useless. All in all, this a very bad idea. Don't do it. You can get a real Tornado Shelter installed in the ground properly and they are inexpensive.

  13. andiamo says:

    PBS's This Old House or Ask This Old House did a piece on tornado shelters built in Oklahoma. They are above ground poured concrete with vents, chairs, and a reinforced door. Very quick to enter. Some were outside and some were in the garage. Cost would be more than $200 but I don't think extremely expensive because they are unfinished, simple, and don't require a lot of concrete. Also, no maintenance and a very loooong life.

  14. C'mon Tornadic winds! (from the old joke about too close to the train tracks)

  15. Yikes! Here’s a DIY shelter model that, though it would take a bit more time and money, would actually work… http://www.diystormshelter.com

  16. I have seen brick homes demolished with tornado force winds. I don't think anything above ground is actually safe.

  17. vampwriterblog says:

    ROTFLMAO! It'll suck them & the dog right out of those trash cans or part of the house will fall on top and punch through driving their helmets along with their heads down to their knees. Good idea for inexpensive coffins however!

  18. I don't have an Apple, will a Nokia work?

  19. ncbill12 says:

    The container part is fine – the body of a plastic trash can is sealed & waterproof.

    Tiny, but one rarely needs to be in a tornado shelter more than a few minutes.

    But as others note, some type of reinforced, latching metal lid that attaches firmly to the surrounding concrete would need to be added.

  20. fordman says:

    It,s according to what size Tornado it is New mobile homes in the south are built better than a lot of site built homes but besides that a f 3 and above if you are above ground you better hope you are right with GOD because nothing stands up to them

  21. kane elysee says:

    Not a bad idea actually. Needs some tweeking. Think I’d be concerned about water or being covered with debris that would cave in the lid. Might be able to fabricate steel lids over top so that someone doesnt fall the hell in one of those things after a night of drinking.

  22. That was my thought! Just pour in some concrete!

  23. shellback says:

    A car or truck would be far better protection than a 1/4" wall plastic trash can. The only way that trash can is good protection is if it is buried. For that matter – why would you exit a house that has at least a few inches of siding, insulation and sheetrock to sit in a thin-walled plastic box. Maybe its an intelligence test….

  24. kane elysee says:

    Lexan??? Hmmmm….that’s a much better idea!

  25. kane elysee says:

    Come now, you know how the ladies are with their crafting!

  26. WindTunnel Bob says:

    You may not have noticed that the cans were buried below ground level then anchored with rebar reinforced concrete. I agree that there are a significant number of drawbacks to this idea, but I have to give kudo's to this elderly lady (her Mom is 89 so she is probably in her 60's) for thinking "inside a box" for a solution, that with modification could actually work. BTW, one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is to think a mobile home provides "any" protection at all. A car is the second worst cboice – outside in a ditch is a better choice. I've lived in "Tornado Alley" most of my life and I've rented or purchased a home with a basement all of my life. I've only had to use it for Tornado warnings, but it's there if it's needed.