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The Saner Container

Super Cubes Modifies a 20' Container into a Tornado Shelter

Tornado Shelter Container with door that swings inside and opening on the side to check the weather_ Before it is anchored to the ground

Tornado Shelter Container with door that swings inside and opening on the side to check the weather. Before it is anchored to the ground.



Mother Nature can be a powerful and unpredictable force, and one of her demonstrations is tornados. Tornados can wipe out entire cities in a matter of moments, and because of this, having a secure shelter, especially in regions like the Great Plains area, is crucial.

At Super Cubes, we've had the privilege of helping many individuals purchase and modify shipping containers for a wide variety of purposes. In this article, we share our experience working with a customer located in the state of South Dakota, which happens to be within the United States' tornado alley, who needed a container for a tornado shelter. The client had a property that was on an exposed area of the plains. They have a building on site, but they need a place for people to go quickly in case of severe weather or a tornado. Next to the existing building, there was a perfect spot to install a 20' shipping container.

Choosing a Shipping Container for a Tornado Shelter

Our customer was diligent in their research on tornado shelters and choosing a trusted shipping container vendor. They made an informed decision to purchase a container from Super Cubes, recognizing our expertise in this field. They then entrusted us with the task of making modifications to the container to suit their needs. They also worked with experts in the area of tornado shelters to make sure they were planning their project properly. The experts were able to help determine the best way to prepare the area for the container's placement. Most importantly, the tornado experts were able to help them determine the best way to anchor their container to the ground securely, taking into account the type of ground they had, the placement of the container in relation to nearby buildings, the prepared pad, etc.

Opening for visibility and air

Opening in side of container for visibility and air

Modifying the Container as a Tornado Shelter

Part of the modifications made included installing a personnel/ man-door in one end of the container. We had the door swing inside the container in case any debris fell in front of the door. That way, they would not be trapped inside the container. We also created a 12” x 12” opening on the side of the container with a steel door that can be opened from the inside and seals up tightly. It allows people inside the container to check out what is happening outside without opening the door. If anyone in the container is feeling claustrophobic or feels they need air while they are waiting out the tornado, the opening is there. Usually, tornado drills don’t last long, but depending on how many people are in a container together, the customer wanted to make sure everyone was as comfortable as possible.

Door swings in to avoid being trapped insideDoor swings in to avoid being trapped inside

In order to prepare the site and ensure the stability and security of the shipping container in extreme weather situations, the customer poured a cement pad next to their building for the container. From there, the container was delivered and set up on the cement pad. After placing the container, the customer worked with their tornado prep experts to ensure that the container was anchored into the ground propertly. This is an extremely important step in the process, as it prevents the container from being pulled up into a tornado. 20-foot containers weigh 5,000 pounds, so they can easily be swept up into a strong storm without proper anchoring.

20 container being delivered on a cement pad20' container being delivered on a cement pad

At Super Cubes, we specialize in providing customized container solutions to meet your specific needs. Whether you are seeking a secure tornado shelter or have any other purpose in mind, we are dedicated to helping you find the perfect solution. Reach out to us, and let's start the conversation.

Super Cubes is a family-owned business located in Minneapolis, MN, that provides containers anywhere in the continental US. We offer personalized service for individuals and businesses, providing high-quality containers at competitive prices. With nationwide facilities, we can modify and deliver containers close to you. Contact our experienced team for your next container project.

Post by Super Cubes
June 4, 2024