Danger : Don't Let This Happen To Your Family In An Underground Shelter

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Danger : Don't Subject Your Family To The Dangers of a Steel Structure

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FOX2now interview with Oz Saferooms very own Storm Research and Safety Specialist Mike Weiss

OZ Invited to 2010 National Severe Weather Workshop

Del City Chamber hosts
Ribbon Cutting at OZ FormTech

STORM TRACKER
Research Team


PRODUCTION TRAINING OZ FORM
TECH CENTER CRANE


HOUSE VOTES 100%
FOR BILL HR 247

stating that the U.S. Government will provide SAFEROOMS for ALL trailer & mobile home parks.


Oz joins Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.


Oz form tech attends Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance two-day Conference in Tulsa, OK.


Oz Forms Tech becomes corporate member of O.E.M(Oklahoma Emergency Management)


Oz Form Tech joins and attends C.O.M.A
(Central Oklahoma Manufacturing Association) 10th Annual Legislative Forum, held at the Campus of Moore Norman Technology
Center


OZ attends Oklahoma Venture Forum


Andrew Zagorski joins ELC (Entrepreneurs, Leaders, and CEO's.) Roundtable

 

NORMAN TRANSCRIPT

My Kingdom for a Place to Hide

Blanchard company builds stout saferooms
to endure fury of fiercest tornado

By Randall Turk
Transcript Business Editor

Someday the back yards of whole neighborhoods will be studded with these monoliths.

There will be formations of them in schools, daycare centers and other public places - throughout the country. This is the dream of Andrew Zagorski, a construction company owner who invented and patented the "Oz," an above ground saferoom certified to be the safest by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The dream is shared by Don Staley, a Moore resident who lived through the Moore tornadoes of 1974, 1998, 1999 and 2003. On May 9 of last year Staley became the only person to ride out a tornado in an Oz saferoom, which later was surrounded by the ruins of his home.

Nearby, the tornado leveled a church, leaving behind a pile of bent and twisted steel I-beams. "I went to the cellar during the 1974 tornado, but I'm claustrophobic," Staley said.

A former home repair contractor, Staley suffered injuries from the '99 tornado in Moore. He had been searching for a less strenuous line of work when he met Zagorski and asked to sell the product.

For 30 years Zagorski built seamless, monolithic underground concrete structures for nuclear power plants and earthquake-proof tunnels under Niagara Falls. He moved his company to Blanchard after the F-5 tornado of May 3, 1999 devastated huge swaths of Bridge Creek, Moore, Midwest City and south Oklahoma City. He incorporated and trademarked the product name.

"At first we tried building underground saferooms in Florida, but the state's water table is too shallow," Zagorski said. "We tried Texas, but there's too much rock. Texas has more tornadoes than Oklahoma, but Oklahoma has worse ones.

"If the government hadn't recommended above-ground saferooms we'd still be in New York building tunnels."

Oz saferooms are one piece, slab sided affairs of 5,000 psi poured concrete. They have walls two feet thick and 18-inch thick ceilings with chamfered edges and reinforced 21-inch thick roof corners. The weakest part of any saferoom is the door, Zagorski said. The Oz doors are of steel sandwiched between 3/4-inch plywood. The door slides in a covered, recessed steel channel because hinges will not withstand a tornado's wrenching winds. Holes below knee level in the massive walls and a concealed slot above the door provide ventilation.

The standard 25-square-foot shelter weighs 21 tons. A 40-square-foot model, wheelchair accessible, weighs 30 tons. Each has benches that fold out from the wall. Other interior features are optional.

This "permanent home improvement" can be had for between $7,500 and $9,500, or "about the price of a good used car," Staley said. FEMA has approved a $2,000 rebate for Oz saferooms.

Zagorski regards most tornado shelter testing as "a joke." Texas Tech subjects the structures to the force of a two-by-four piece of lumber shot through the air at high speed, he said. "Tornadoes shoot trucks."

He claims the Oz will endure anti-tank artillery fire nearly unscathed.

The company has retained the Kate Gleason College of Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology to assist in developing and testing Oz products.

Zagorski recites a litany of deficiencies in other tornado shelters: "Some below ground can get buoyant," he said. "A tornado can suck one of these out of the ground and you go for a ride."

Some shelters have roofs only two inches thick that can collapse during a storm Zagorski said. Some are just made of lattice and sprayed gunite, easily destroyed. Others of thicker concrete are poured in sections. Those products are left with seams and joints that buckle under a tornado's fury.

Zagorski also has reservations about safe rooms built inside houses or under garage floors. If buried under the rubble of a flattened house, occupants could be imprisoned for days or weeks before they are found, he said. "Every hazardous chemical stored in a garage" could seep into garage floor saferooms, he said.

"You're better off inside an interior closet of your house, surrounded by soft clothes and bedding," Zagorski advises.

The company is moving about 200 saferooms a year, all that 11 employees can produce and market. Partners in the business are engineers Gregory Hauser and Joseph Grzywna.

Oz Saferooms has plans to build "the first tornado proof home in Moore," and add 200 workers over the next year to step up production. The City of Newcastle uses an Oz saferoom for an emergency communications center and wants others for the police and fire departments, Zagorski said.

Now it takes about three days to build one of the structures. The company also is working on models for industry and government, such as a saferoom for pharmaceutical company testing and a specially equipped model for anti-terrorist operations that could accommodate inhabitants for a month at a time. But for now, Oz is concentrating on the residential market.

"In 10 years we should have these in every state," Zagorski said. "Our product is just like insurance. If you need it, you have to have it. If you don't need it, great."

 

© 2004 The Norman Transcript.
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The Oz Saferoom is a fully vented, 20-ton, steel-reinforced, monolithically poured concrete structure.

Extreme testing of the OZ Saferoom
Click To Watch Video!

FEMA shows Oz Saferoom at National Weather Center, Norman, OK, as success story for their mitigation program "PROJECT IMPACT."

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Del City, OK 73115

Ph: (405) 672-8400
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