How to Build a Storm Shelter in a Crawl Space


In a weather emergency, take steps to protect yourself and your family by creating a storm shelter, in the crawl space below your house that isn't deep enough for a basement. When you must take immediate shelter from a storm, the ideal location is away from windows, in a central location in your home. Whether for a few hours or even days, be prepared with supplies in a safe refuge until the storm passes.

Things You'll Need

  • Weather radio
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Food
  • Water
  • Emergency preparedness kit
  • Battery-operated lamp
  • Create an area in the crawl space that's clear of debris and isn't located beneath large, heavy pieces of furniture on the above floor.

  • Assemble a disaster supply kit that includes one gallon of water per person, per day, for at least three days. Also include a three-day supply of nonperishable food, a battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries, first-aid kit, sanitation items, matches and waterproof container, whistle, extra clothing, kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener, photocopies of credit and identification cards, cash, eyeglasses, contact lens solutions and hearing aid batteries.

  • Make a list of basic items that members of your household may need during an emergency, including medicines or security items for children. Store the list in the emergency supply kit.

  • Identify your community's warning systems and evacuation routes, and know how the community sends out important communication.

  • Gather extra blankets and sleeping bags, and store them in the shelter.

  • Place a battery-operated lamp in the shelter, with backup batteries.

  • Update the contents of your emergency kit and shelter as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Heavy objects can fall though the floor if a tornado strikes your house.
  • Below-ground shelters must be designed to avoid accumulating water during rain storms. Avoid seeking shelter in a crawl space if there's a flood threat, such as the heavy rains accompanying severe windstorms.

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  • Photo Credit extreme weather image by Calin Tatu from plastic basket image by gajatz from boy in a blanket 4 image by Paul Moore from Big red fire siren on the roof of a fire station image by Alexey Stiop from Black and yellow flashlight image by Jim Mills from mother holding newborn child #9 image by Adam Borkowski from
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