When a tornado's heading your way, the best thing you can do is to go your basement or better yet, to a purpose-built storm shelter. The problem is, not everyone has access to either. With that in mind, Missouri-based entrepreneur Steve Anderson created the Tuuli Armor Tornado Shield. Essentially, it's a big bag that you get inside of.
After zipping yourself into the Tornado Shield, you then lie down on the floor in the safest place you can find (such as a bathtub). While it won't keep you from being crushed, its ballistic nylon construction is intended to protect against lacerations caused by flying bits of debris – such injuries are the most common type suffered by tornado victims.
Steve has tested the material against various glass, metal and wooden objects, of the type that might be whizzing through the air in a building being demolished by a tornado. Using an air cannon, he fired these items at the material, at speeds ranging from 200 to 260 mph (322 to 418 km/h). It reportedly stood up well to all of them, including a rebar-like steel rod that didn't penetrate the nylon at all, but that did go through unprotected wood.
Once the shield is zipped up, it has no openings that could catch the wind and cause it to become airborne.
Each Tornado Shield is large enough to hold two adults and a child, so not every family member would necessarily need their own – the combined peoples' weight in the one unit should also help keep it anchored on the ground.
Anderson is currently raising production funds, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$320 will get you one, when and if they're ready to go. More information is available in the pitch video below.
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more