Title:
Modular room fortification system for storm protection
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is of a modular storm and earthquake shelter system and method fabrication thereof, which invention depends from the assembly of a metal sheet clad cage-like structure made from prefabricated panels and ancillary components which are selected to contribute to a structure which essentially becomes a lining of the interior surfaces of an existing room of an existing structure (a closet in most instances).



Inventors:
Sissons, Paul (Georgetown, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/191000
Publication Date:
01/08/2004
Filing Date:
07/08/2002
Assignee:
SISSONS PAUL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/127.5, 52/106
International Classes:
E04C2/38; E04H9/14; (IPC1-7): E04C2/38
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KATCHEVES, BASIL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David G. Henry (Waco, TX, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A modular shelter comprising: a plurality of panels, each said panel having attachment means for attachment to other said panels for assembly of said plurality of said panels as an enclosure, each said panel being configured as a grid of structural members; each said panel having a cladding material affixed thereto to provide a substantially solid outer surface; at least one of said panels having an orifice defined in the structure thereof for admitting persons or objects therethrough after said assebly.

2. The modular shelter of claim 1 wherein said attachment means comprise: a plurality of bolt holes passing said structural members of each said panel, and being positioned in each said panel whereby a bolt may pass from one said panel to another said panel when said panels are aligned for said assembly; a plurality of bolts sized and shaped for passage through said bolt holes; a plurality of nuts secured to said structural members adjacent to one of said bolt holes for each pairing of two adjacent bolt holes of two adjacent said panels when positioned for said assembly, said nuts positioned for threadingly receiving one of said bolts as said one of said bolts passes through said bolts holes for joining two said panels.

3. The modular shelter of claim 1 wherein each said panel is configured as a substantially parallel array of metallic bars secured in position by a frame member, each said frame member of each said panel having bolt holes positioned for alignment with said bolt holes of said frame member of an adjacent said panel for receiving bolts therethrough for securing said panels in an assembled configuration of said panels.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of The Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to storm and earthquake shelters.

[0003] 2. Background Information

[0004] Wind storms (hurricanes, straight-line winds from thunderstorms and tornadoes) and earthquakes are potentially deadly events for anyone under any circumstances. However, the risk is much greater for persons in structures which have not been specifically fortified to withstand the forces of wind and earthquake.

[0005] However desirable, it is simply not an attainable goal to fortify all dwellings and places of business sufficiently to protect occupants from structural collapse and/or flying debris as arises from wind storms and earthquakes. While new construction of dwellings and business structures to achieve satisfactory levels of wind storm and earthquake protection is quite costly, it can be even more costly to essentially re-build and existing structure to attain such an objective.

[0006] Near countless storm and earthquake shelter designs are available to consumers. However, costs of acquisition and/or construction is prohibitive for many consumers. Even for many who would expend a reasonable sum for some degree of storm or earthquake protection, conventional protection schemes are not practical because of space limitations, excavation impediments, building code restrictions, etc.

[0007] It would well serve countless millions of individuals to have available and effective, affordable, and easily situated shelter as would be effective in protecting people from the hazards inherent in structural collapse or partial disintegration, together with flying debris, all also issued with wind storms and earthquakes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In view of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide a modular storm and earthquake shelter system.

[0009] It is another object of the present invention to provide a modular storm and earthquake shelter system which is designed for placement within an existing room of an existing structure.

[0010] It is another object of the present invention to provide a modular storm and earthquake shelter system which provides a shell of wind storm or earthquake protection within existing rooms of existing structures.

[0011] It is another object of the present invention to provide a modular storm and earthquake shelter system which, because of its configuration and method of construction, can both be placed within an existing room of an existing structure and be substantially coextensive with the interior dimensions of such room and thereby be very unobtrusive.

[0012] It is another object of the present invention to provide a storm and earthquake shelter system which, because of its construction from prefabricated panels, is more economical to purchase and install than alternative, available storm and earthquake shelter apparatuses.

[0013] In satisfaction of the foregoing objectives, the present invention provides a modular storm and earthquake shelter system and method fabrication thereof, which invention depends from the assembly of a metal sheet clad cage-like structure made from prefabricated panels and ancillary components which are selected to contribute to a structure which essentially becomes a lining of the interior surfaces of an existing room of an existing structure (a closet in most instances).

[0014] When assembled and installed, embodiments of the present invention provide a safe haven for occupants of a structure which is otherwise inadequately fortified to withstand the forces of a deadly and storm or earthquake. The panels for constructing an embodiment of the present invention will, according to the best mode of the present invention, be of dimensions such that the completed structure will closely nest within an existing room or closet. Thus, the structure will be quite unobtrusive, consuming very little of the space of the existing room. Of course, it is always an option for consumers to acquire an embodiment of the present invention which, while incorporating the fundamental aspects thereof, does not occupy the entire interior space of an existing room, but rather occupies only a portion thereof (such as when a safe haven is desired to be provided within the bounds of a room larger than would be necessary to protect the occupants of any given dwellings or structure).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a fully assembled shelter according to the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the shelter of FIG. 1 with a structural panel shown exposed.

[0017] FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the preferred panels for use in constructing the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0018] FIG. 4 is an alternative configuration for panels for use in constructing the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a shelter according to the present invention without any exterior cladding for showing the internal panel structure and assembly according to the present invention.

[0020] FIG. 6 is an elevational view of a panel with a door orifice for use as one surface of a shelter of the preferred embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 7 is an elevational view of a non-door panel for use as one surface of a shelter of the preferred embodiment.

[0022] FIGS. 8/8A is an elevational, partial cutaway view of a panel of the preferred embodiment, which view depicts the bolt and nut access cutaways in the metal sheet shelter cladding for use in assembling a shelter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0023] Referring to FIG. 1, the completed storm or earthquake shelter according to present invention appears as merely a box with and opening into the interior thereof. However, as the following description will make clear, there is much more to the present structure than meets the eye.

[0024] Referring principally to FIGS. 1 and 2, an example of a storm or earthquake shelter according to the present invention is identified generally by the referenced numeral 10. Whatever the dimensions or overall shape of a storm or earthquake shelter of the present invention (the rectangular example in FIGS. 1 and 2 being one of a variety of possible, overall configurations), shelter 10 will be constructed, in part, of panels 12.

[0025] Referring initially to FIG. 3, each panel 12 is, in the preferred embodiment, a square or rectangular grid of steel bars 14 welded within a perimeter frame 16. Referring to FIG. 4, and alternative construction of panels useful in practicing the present invention, and involving nested steel rectangles is depicted.

[0026] In any event, panels 12 will, when practicing the present invention, and when assembled as intended, form a jail cell-like structure of steel bars 14.

[0027] Referring principally to FIGS. 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8/8A, assembly of a storm or earthquake shelter 10 of the present invention involves bolting panels 12 together. To that end, bolt holes (not separately visible in the drawings) are formed through the perimeter frame 16 of each panel for use with nut and bolt pairings 18, such bolt holes being oriented (as is clearly apparent in FIG. 2) to enable assembly of the desired, final configuration for shelter 10.

[0028] Referring principally to FIGS. 1 and 8/8A,each panel 12 is clad with metal sheets 20, both to provide additional structural strength and to provide a barrier from small flying debris. Metal sheets 20 are ultimately attached to the bars 14 and perimeter frames 16 of panels 12 using rivets or other suitable fasteners are to final assembly at an installation site. Some form of filler (not shown in the drawings) may be provided in the spaces between bars 14, for sound dampening and/or additional projectile arresting purposes. In the latter event, steel mesh sheets or KEVLAR sheets will have some beneficial effect, and even steel wool packing will likely provide some degree of additional protection.

[0029] As shown in FIGS. 8/8A, cut outs 22 are provided in each metal sheet 20 as is necessary to provide access to those portions of each perimeter frame 16 of each panel 12 for connecting adjacent panels 12 through use of nut and bolt pairings 18. For ease of ultimate assembly, it is recommended that, before adding metal sheets 20 to panels 12, the entire assembly of panels 12 for any given project be bolted together and the nuts of each nut and bolt pairing 18 be welded in place so that, at final assembly of a shelter 10, a bolt need only be inserted through a bolt hole and advanced into the then-stationery nut without risk of dropping a nut into an unreachable portion of a panel 12.

[0030] Although not depicted in the drawings, additional holes are provided in those panels 12 which are-used to form floor sections of a shelter 10 so that the shelter 10 may be anchored to an underlying floor surface (preferably a concrete slab).

[0031] The entrance to the shelter 10 will be made of panels with different entrance and door designs, depending on the application. Referring to FIG. 6, the preferred design will involve using two panels 12, upper and lower, bolted together. As shown in FIG. 7, one pannel will include an opening 24 approximating the dimensions of the door to the room into which shelter 10 is to be nested. Such a design allows full access to the shelter 10 without any restrictions, such as a hinged door as might be attached to the shelter 10. Of course, either when there is no door to be closely matched for aesthetic or impediment avoidance purposes, or within this felt that more structural strength will be achieved with a smaller breach of the cage-like structure of shelter 10