OKLAHOMA CITY – Last month’s storms are inspiring thousands of Oklahomans to take EF-5 tornadoes seriously and consider an underground safe spot.
Storm shelter companies are overwhelmed, taking hundreds of orders a day.
The high demand has them backed up so if you’re planning to place an order, be prepared to wait.
Both Erick Heald of Storm Safe and Garett Howerton of Thunderground said selling storm shelters has been a booming business the past couple of weeks.
“We take about 700 phone calls a day now,” Heald said. “We have 12 people answering the phones full time.”
“Everybody wants theirs yesterday now,” Howerton said.
Heald has talked to customers who have resorted to some pretty desperate measures.
“They’re actually asking if they can pay people to move out of a spot that’s sooner to move into it,” Heald said.
The staff at Thunderground said they are backed up as far as they’ve ever experienced.
“Right now we are currently booking out to the end of the year basically, November and December,” Howerton said.
Howerton’s phone rang just twice in the short time we visited with him.
From two to three installations a day to 10 to 15, both companies are working nights and hiring extra crews to shorten their wait list.
“Just to be fair, what we’re doing is writing down on the sales agreement form, what time that person called on the date that they called,” Howerton said. “Then just going back through and putting them in order from first-come, first-serve basis.”
Howerton also has a message for Oklahomans who are putting storm shelters at the bottom of their to-do list.
“You do live in Oklahoma,” he said. “It’s basically a pretty good investment. If you think about it, a couple thousand dollars compared to your family’s safety is probably going to pay off at some point. Even if it’s just a peace of mind.”
Even though it seems like all of Oklahoma is calling to place an order, there are still some who are worried about the price.