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Do your research before purchasing a storm shelter

This week, the Obama Administration released a climate report that said the effects of global warming are already severe in the United States.

About a week earlier, tornadoes tore through the state of Arkansas, and in particular the cities of Mayflower and Vilona, killing more than a dozen people and leaving hundreds more homeless.

Following the tragic weather event and the climate report, many Arkansas residents are left wondering if deadly tornadoes could become more frequent in the state.

Some residents may even decide to purchase their own storm shelters in effort to protect themselves from future serious weather events. Homeowners may be further inclined to invest in a tornado shelter because of a new state program provides a reimbursement for a portion of associated costs.

However, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management wants residents to know that storm shelters must be inspected and meet certain criteria to qualify, such as being constructed out of waterproof material and having proper ventilation.

The department reported this week that a storm shelter in Faulkner County with a faulty door had not been inspected by emergency management and therefore did not meet federal safety requirements. One person died as a result of the faulty door during the tornadoes April 27.

The department recommends that individuals ensure that a storm shelter has been built within federal shelter guidelines and is properly inspected before depending on it in a potential life-threatening situation such as a tornado.

It is possible that the family of the person who was killed could pursue a products liability claim against the maker of the storm shelter as it appears to have been defective.

Unfortunately, thousands of products are made and sold each year in the United States without the proper testing. These products put the lives of countless people at risk, especially when they are intended for use in life or death situations.

Source: Arkansas Online, “Storm shelter with faulty door wasn't inspected by government officials,” Lisa Burnett, May 5, 2014

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