Shelters big hit at Expo

Published 12:00am Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Storm shelters are gaining popularity among both those who fear storms and doomsday preppers, vendors participating in Covington County’s Emergency Expo said Saturday.

“We have three different types,” said Josh Robinson of Lake Martin Storm Shelters. “Fiberglass, polymer and steel, above-ground shelters.”

Fiberglass models are about $5,000; polymer models are about $7,000; and steel models range from $4,800 to $7,000.

Caroline and Catherine Pettie sit inside a storm shelter displayed by Storm Shelters of Northwest Florida during Saturday’s Emergency Expo at the Kiwanis Center. ADPH’s portable hospital, below.
Caroline and Catherine Pettie sit inside a storm shelter displayed by Storm Shelters of Northwest Florida during Saturday’s Emergency Expo at the Kiwanis Center. ADPH’s portable hospital, below.

Robinson said that, like most companies, his company does the excavating necessary for underground installations, as well as the landscaping once the shelters have been covered.

The largest one available will hold 12 to 15 people, he said. While it is possible to have electricity run to the underground rooms, it is often more functional to have battery-operated lights, as power usually is shut off during a storm.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Alabama Department of Public Health displayed one of its portable hospital units.

Terry Kyzar, who recently retired from ADPH but volunteered to help with the expo, explained that the hospital tent is completely collapsible and can be hauled in a trailer along with supplies.

With generators, the hospital can be inflated in about an hour.

The tents are designed to assist when hospitals have surges, as in a pandemic. The tents can be used as triage areas to expand the capabilities of hospitals.

Covington County EMA director Susan Harris said she was very happy with the turnout, which included about 500 people.

“I thought it was a great success for the first year,” Harris said. “We plan on doing it again next year, and have come up with more ideas, and different ways of doing things.”

Harris said if the expo helped one person prepare for a storm or disaster, it was worth the effort.

 

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