The Risks of Burying Shipping Containers for Tornado SheltersTornadoes are a force of nature that can cause significant structural damage and put human lives at risk. Tornado shelters are an effective solution to protect people from the ferocity of the storm. A shipping container could seem like an ideal option for a shelter, but burying it underground could pose risks.
Why Shipping Containers are not Ideal for BurialShipping containers may seem sturdy enough to withstand considerable force, but they are not designed for burial. Shipping containers are primarily made to withstand the stress of long and harsh journeys at sea. As a result, they are built to support the weight of cargo stacked on top of them – not the weight of earth pressing against them. When you bury a shipping container in the ground, you put it under tremendous pressure, which can cause the sides of the container to buckle. It can even lead to the roof collapsing under the weight of the earth. The structure of a buried container can also be compromised, leading to leaks, rust, and other forms of corrosion.
The Effects of Earth Pressure on a Buried Shipping ContainerThe earth’s pressure on a shipping container buried underground can cause it to deform, twist, or even collapse. The amount of soil that’s piled on top of the container affects the amount of pressure exerted on the walls and roof. The buried container could also be subjected to extensive wear and tear, which could lead to structural failure. The pressure varies depending on factors like soil type, depth of burial, and weather. It can be quite inconsistent and unpredictable. Given the lack of consistency in earth pressure, it’s not ideal to rely on a shipping container as a tornado shelter.
Necessary Structural Modifications for BurialIf you’re planning on using a shipping container as a tornado shelter, you must make several structural modifications before burying it. These modifications will strengthen the container and make it more resistant to the pressure of the soil. Here are some structural modifications that need to be carried out:
- Additional Steel Reinforcement: Adding extra beams around the corners can reinforce the container’s structure.
- Waterproofing: You must waterproof the container to prevent rust and corrosion.
- Drainage: The bunker must have proper drainage to prevent water from leaking into it and causing problems.
- Entrance and Exit: A proper entrance and exit must be built, along with an air vent, to ensure a fresh air supply.
Drawbacks of Container Storm SheltersUsing a shipping container as a tornado shelter has several drawbacks. Here are some of the drawbacks to consider before choosing a shipping container as a bunker:
- Cost: Building a shipping container bunker is expensive and requires significant modifications before it can be buried.
- Size: Shipping containers are not very large and might not provide sufficient space for a family cluster, depending on the number of occupants.
- Difficult Burial Process: It is challenging to bury a shipping container and requires special equipment and a considerable amount of work.
- Construction Limitations: The structure of a shipping container cannot accommodate critical elements, such as a staircase, electrical and plumbing installations, and air conditioning. Thus, it may not be the best fit for a comfortable and well-equipped tornado shelter.
- Questionable Effectiveness: Since shipping containers were not designed for underground use, their effectiveness in a tornado is questionable, and there’s a risk of serious injury or death in particularly harsh storms.