If you live in a tornado-prone area, it's important to have some sort of storm-proof shelter in or near your home. Oklahoma-based Life Lift Systems has come up with a unique in-bedroom solution, in the form of its Vortex Vault Tornado Shelter Bed.
Putting it simply, the Vortex Vault is an impact- and crush-resistant solid-steel bed frame that can be telescoped up within a little over a minute when a tornado is approaching. Users proceed to enter the resulting rectangular shelter through three vertically-aligned doors in its side, then lock themselves in to ride out the storm.
The bed frame is lifted (and subsequently lowered) via a four-motor scissor-lift mechanism that's powered by an adjacent 110-volt AC wall outlet. In the event of a power outage, an integrated backup battery takes over. And should users not have time to raise the shelter before the storm hits, they can still crawl into the Vortex Vault in its lowered state by opening all three doors together.
In fact, there are actually three versions of the product, each one of those in turn being available in four bed sizes. There's the described top-of-the-line Telescoping model, that has an interior height of 57 inches (1.4 m) when raised; there's a Slope Top model, in which only the head of the bed goes up to provide 38 inches (0.9 m) of headroom at that end; and there's a non-raisable crawl-in Platform version, that offers a set inside height of 19 inches (0.5 m).
All three have reportedly been tested and approved by the Texas Tech Wind Institute to withstand the effects of an EF5 tornado. That said, they do have to be secured to a concrete pad – this means that they must be installed either in a basement, or on the ground floor of a house that has no basement.
One exception to that rule would be cases in which they're not being used for storm protection. Tim Todd, Life Lift's VP of Sales and Marketing, tells us that clients are increasingly buying Vortex Vaults for use as home-invasion-resistant panic rooms. Additionally, if equipped with an external lock, they can be utilized as a theft-resistant storage space for valuables.
Todd adds that unlike traditional underground storm shelters, his company's system isn't subject to flooding, plus it doesn't require users to run outside (into the storm) in order to enter it. And unlike some other in-home shelters, it doesn't take up additional floor space.
The Vortex Vault Tornado Shelter Bed is presently available via dealers in 20 US states, with pricing depending on the location. It's demonstrated in the following video.
Source: Life Lift Systems
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