Title:
Storm shelter with integrally formed seamless base
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An underground seamless storm shelter for use during severe weather. The storm shelter is comprised of a single piece base formed by a rotational molding process and an impervious, steel plate cover that is secured to the base by a method forming a watertight seal. The cover comprises a steel door that serves as the means of entrance into the shelter. In addition, a ladder is attached to the cover to facilitate entry and exit. The storm shelter has a ventilation system that provides fresh air to the inhabitants. The storm shelter is secured to the ground by a plurality of anchors that are attached to the cover.



Inventors:
Johnson, Christopher David (Edmond, OK, US)
Application Number:
10/918815
Publication Date:
02/16/2006
Filing Date:
08/13/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/79.1
International Classes:
A47F10/00; E04H6/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VESRA, DINESH K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sean V. O'Connell, Esquire (Oklahoma City, OK, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A storm shelter, comprising: a seamless, integrally formed base positioned substantially below ground; a cover secured to the base, the cover defining an entryway therein; a door operatively connected to the cover and positioned to protect the entryway.

2. The storm shelter of claim 1 wherein the base is formed of molded plastic.

3. The storm shelter of claim 2 wherein the base is formed through a rotational molding process.

4. The storm shelter of claim 1 wherein the base is formed of fiberglass.

5. The storm shelter of claim 1 wherein the base is comprised of a single wall.

6. The storm shelter of claim 1 wherein the cover comprises an impervious material.

7. The storm shelter of claim 6 wherein the cover comprises a steel plate.

8. The storm shelter of claim 6 further comprising a flange connected to the cover around a perimeter of the entryway.

9. The storm shelter of claim 1 wherein the cover is secured to the base by adhesive material.

10. The storm shelter of claim 1 wherein the cover is secured to the base by a nut and bolt assembly.

11. The storm shelter of claim 1 wherein the door is operatively connected to the cover by a hinge mechanism so the door is movable between an open position and a closed position such that in the open position the door extends outward from the shelter and in the closed position the door covers the entryway.

12. The storm shelter of claim 11 wherein the door is supported by means of a gas spring assembly.

13. The storm shelter of claim 1 wherein the door is operatively connected to the cover by a track and roller system.

14. The storm shelter of claim 1 further comprising a ventilation system adapted to supply fresh air to the storm shelter.

15. The storm shelter of claim 15 wherein the ventilation system comprises a covered roof louver.

16. The storm shelter of claim 1 further comprising a ladder.

17. The storm shelter of claim 17 wherein the ladder is rigidly affixed to the cover and connected to the cover by two chains so that it suspends downward at an angle relative to the cover into the storm shelter.

18. The storm shelter of claim 1 further comprising an anchor system operatively connected to the cover.

19. The storm shelter of claim 19 wherein the anchor system comprises a plurality of anchors embedded into the ground around a perimeter of the shelter.

20. The storm shelter of claim 20 wherein each anchor comprises an auger.

21. The storm shelter of claim 20 wherein each anchor is connected to the cover by a steel band.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of prefabricated storm shelters. In particular, the invention relates to a storm shelter comprised of a base section and a cover wherein the base is primarily located underground.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises an underground storm shelter for use by individuals during severe weather. The storm shelter is comprised of a seamless integrally formed base positioned substantially below ground, a cover secured to the base, and a door operatively connected to the cover. The cover defines an entry way and the door is positioned to protect the entryway.

The base may be formed of molded plastic by a rotational molding process and is single walled. In addition, the base may be formed so that it comprises seating. In an alternative embodiment, the base is formed of fiberglass.

The cover may be formed of impervious material, such as steel plating. The cover comprises a flange, also formed of steel, connected to the perimeter of the entryway. The cover is secured to the base by an adhesive material. Alternatively, the cover may be secured to the base by a nut and bolt assembly.

The door is operatively connected to the cover by a hinge mechanism so the door is movable between an open position and a closed position such that in the open position the door extends outward from the shelter and in the closed position the door covers the entryway. Further, the storm shelter comprises a latch adapted to secure the door in the closed position. The door is supported by means of a gas spring assembly: In another embodiment, the door may be operatively connected to the cover by a track and roller system such that it slides between an open and closed position.

In an alternative embodiment, the invention further comprises a ventilation system adapted to supply fresh air to the storm shelter. Preferably, the ventilation system comprises a covered roof louver. In an alternative embodiment, the ventilation system is comprised of a 180° elbow shaped pipe, protruding externally from the cover, attached to the cover so a first opening of the pipe faces toward the cover and a second opening of the pipe opens into the storm shelter.

In another aspect, the invention comprises a ladder operatively connected to the cover. Preferably, the ladder is rigidly affixed to the cover and connected to the cover by two chains so that it suspends downward at an angle relative to the cover into the storm shelter. The ladder is made of steel.

In another aspect, the invention further comprises an anchor system operatively connected to the cover. The anchor system may be comprised of a plurality of anchors embedded into the ground around a perimeter of the shelter. The anchors are secured to the cover at a plurality of anchor rings. Preferably, the anchors are in the shape of an auger. The anchors are connected to the anchor rings by steel bands. Alternatively, the anchors are connected to the anchor rings by steel cables.

Alternatively, the anchor system comprises an anchor formed from a single plate positioned below ground and proximate to a lower portion of the base. The anchor is secured to the cover by a plurality of anchor rings. The anchor is connected to the anchor rings by steel rods secured by a nut and bolt assemblies. Alternatively, the anchor may be connected to the anchor rings by steel cables in place of the steel rods.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross sectional view of the storm shelter built in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective partial, cut-away diagram of the base of the storm shelter with integrated seating.

FIG. 3A is a partial cut-away and cross section of a hinged door assembly.

FIG. 3B is a partial cut-away and cross section of a track and roller door assembly.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of an alternative embodiment for a storm shelter in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top view of a single plate anchor.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Turning now to the drawings in general and FIG. 1 in particular, there is shown a storm shelter, designated by reference numeral 10, in accordance with the present invention. The storm shelter 10 generally comprises base 20, a cover 100, a door 200, an anchor system 300, a ladder 400, and a ventilation system 500.

As depicted in FIG. 1, the base 20 has a top end 22 and is situated primarily underground with the top end proximate to the surface of the ground. The base 20 serves as the location of shelter during a storm or tornado. Preferably the only opening from the base 20 is proximate the top end 22. Preferably the dimensions of the base 20 are 66″ in diameter and 58″ in height. This proportion will allow for the comfortable occupancy of up to two adults and three children. Alternatively the size of the base 20 may be adapted to increase or decrease occupancy.

Preferably the base 20 is formed so that it has integrated seating 24. (See FIG. 2). More preferably the integrated seating 24 is proximate a lower portion 26 of the base. Preferably the diameter of the bottom 30 of the base 20 is less than the diameter of the side 28 to allow for the integrated seating 24. Alternatively the base 20 may be formed without integrated seating 24.

In the preferred embodiment, the base 20 is in the shape of a cylinder. Alternatively the base 20 may be the shape of a cube with or without integrated seating. One skilled in the art will recognize other shapes the base may take including a rectangle or sphere. Preferably the interior of the base 20 includes an electric light. Such light could be supplied by affixing a battery operated light to the interior side of the installed cover 100, yet to be described.

The base 20 is formed of polyethylene plastic by a rotational molding process. Preferably the sides 28 and bottom 30 are single walled and seamless. Alternatively the base 20 may be formed of other materials including steel, concrete, fiberglass, or PVC plastic so long as the base can be constructed without any seams.

Looking again to FIG. 1, the cover 100 is situated so that it is primarily above ground. The cover 100 serves to prevent penetration by debris during tornado force winds. Preferably the cover 100 is constructed to provide an entryway 104 into the storm shelter 10. The cover 100 has a flange 106 around a perimeter of an entryway 104. The flange 106 is used when securing a door 200, yet to be described, to the cover 100. Preferably the cover 100 is circular in shape to correspond with a cylindrically formed base 20. Alternatively the cover 100 may be in the shape of a square to correspond to a cube shaped base 20. In an alternative embodiment, not depicted, the cover 100 is positioned below ground with only the door 200 exposed.

The cover 100 is designed to completely overlap the base 20 when secured in a manner yet to be described. Preferably the cover 100 includes a lip 102 that extends below the top end 22 of the base 20. The lip 102 may be used to facilitate securing the cover 100 to the base 20. The cover 100 may be secured to the base 20 by means of an adhesive 108. One such adhesive is 3M™ 8010 structural plastic adhesive. Another such adhesive is butyl tape. Preferably the cover 100 is secured with a water-tight seal. Alternatively the cover 100 could be secured to the base 20 by a water tight nut and bolt assembly. Other means for securing the cover 100 to the base 20 are anticipated.

The cover 100 and flange 46 are preferably made of steel. The more preferable construction is steel plate. The flange 106 may be welded to the cover 100 or secured by other suitable means. Alternative constructions for the cover 100 and flange 106 include any suitably impervious material that conforms to National Storm Shelter Association Standards such as Kevlar reinforced fiberglass. Preferably the exterior portion of the cover 100 is coated with a textured paint that includes a non slip material.

With reference now to FIG. 3A there is shown therein a cross section of the preferred embodiment of the door 200. The door 200 serves to protect the entryway 104 and provide access to the storm shelter 10. The door 200 is operatively connected to the cover 100 and is movable between an open position and a closed position. Preferably the door 200 extends outward from the shelter 10 in the open position. The door 200 completely protects the entryway 104 in the closed position. Preferably the door 200 is sealed when closed so that it prevents debris and water from entering the shelter 10.

The door 200 is connected to the cover 100 by a hinge assembly 202 to allow the door to move between the open and closed positions. The door 200 may also be supported by means of a gas spring assembly 204 that provides for easier opening and closing of the door. A latch 206 is adapted to secure the door 200 in the closed position.

Preferably the door 200 is made of steel. More preferably the door 200 is made of steel plate. Alternatively the door 200 may be fabricated from a suitably impervious material such as Kevlar reinforced fiberglass.

In an alternative embodiment, depicted in FIG. 3B, the door 200 is connected to the cover 100 by a track and roller assembly 220. The track and roller assembly 220 allows the door 200 to move between an open and closed position. In this embodiment, the door 200 is slidingly movable between an open and closed position. Preferably the door 200 completely protects the entryway 104 in the closed position. Preferably the door 200 is sealed when closed so that it prevents debris and water from entering. The cover 100 may have a housing 222 for protecting the door 200 when it is in the open position. Preferably a latch 224 is adapted to secure the door 200 in the closed position. The housing 222 is preferably made of steel and more preferably is made of steel plate. The housing 222 may also be fabricated from a suitably impervious material such as Kevlar reinforced fiberglass.

With reference again to FIG. 1, the storm shelter 10 is shown in cross section with an anchor system 300. The anchor system 300 serves to secure the installed storm shelter 10 in the ground and to keep the storm shelter from moving due to shifts caused by varying hydrostatic pressure. Preferably the anchor system 300 is attached to the cover 100 to provide stability during tornado force winds.

The preferred embodiment of the anchor system 300 is shown in FIG. 1. This embodiment is comprised of a plurality of auger anchors 302. Preferably there are four auger anchors 302. One skilled in the art will recognize that other anchor types may be just as effective as the auger anchors 302 for this embodiment. Preferably the auger anchors 302 are operatively attached to the cover 100 by steel bands 304. The auger anchors 304 are secured to the steel bands 304 by a bolt assembly 306. The steel bands 304 are attached to the cover 100 at a series of anchor rings 308. More preferably there are four anchor rings 308. Preferably the anchor rings 308 are attached on the perimeter of the cover 100 at the lip 102. The steel bands 304 are secured to the anchor rings 308 by a bolt assembly 310. One skilled in the art will appreciate alternatives to the steel bands 304, such as steel cables or rods.

The anchor system 300 may alternatively be comprised of a single anchor 320 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. Preferably the single anchor 320 is constructed with a hole 322 in its center larger than the diameter of the base 20. Preferably there are a series of anchor rings 324 attached to the anchor 320. More preferably there are four anchor rings 324 attached to the anchor 320. Preferably the anchor rings 324 are positioned on the anchor 320 so that when installed they are accessible beyond the perimeter of the base 20. Preferably there are a series of anchor rings 326 attached to the cover 100. More preferably there are four anchor rings 326 attached to the cover 100. Preferably the anchor rings 326 are attached on the perimeter of the cover 100. More preferably the anchor rings 326 are attached on the exterior of the lip 102.

In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the anchor 320 is shown attached to the cover 100 by a plurality of steel rods 328. One end of the steel rod 328 is attached to the cover 100 at the anchor ring 326. Preferably the steel rod 328 is secured to the anchor ring 326 by a bolt assembly 330. The steel rod 328 is attached at the opposite end to the anchor 320 at the anchor ring 324. Preferably the steel rods 328 are secured to the anchor rings 324 on the anchor 320 by a nut and bolt assembly 330.

Preferably the anchor 320 is constructed of steel. More preferably the anchor 320 is constructed of steel plate. This embodiment of the anchor 320 may be achieved by utilizing the steel remaining from formation of the cover 100.

Looking again to FIG. 1, the storm shelter 10 is shown with a ladder 400 affixed to the cover 100. The ladder 400 is used as the means of ingress and egress to the storm shelter 10. Preferably the ladder 400 has four steps. Preferably the ladder 400 is installed so that it is suspended downward into the interior of the base 20. More preferably the ladder 400 is suspended at an angle. This installation is preferred as it provides for easier ingress and egress to the shelter 10. Alternatively the steps are constructed to reduce the likelihood of slipping.

Preferably the ladder 400 is affixed to the cover 100. The ladder 400 is preferably rigid in construction. The ladder 400 is affixed to the cover 100 by a nut and bolt assembly 402. The ladder 400 may have chains 404 attached near a midpoint 403 of the ladder. Preferably the chains 404 are shorter in length than the ladder 400. This will allow the ladder 400 to be suspended from the cover 100 at an angle less than 90° relative to the cover. The chains 404 are attached to the cover 100 by a hook assembly 406. The use of a hook assembly 406 will allow for the angle of the ladder 400 relative to the cover 100 to be adjusted as needed.

With reference still to FIG. 1 a ventilation system 500 is shown. The purpose of the ventilation system 500 is to allow for fresh air to reach the occupants. In addition, the ventilation system 500 is installed in a manner that limits the likelihood of any debris, dust, or water entering during a storm.

Preferably the ventilation system 500 may be achieved through the use of a covered roof louver 502. A covered roof louver 502 is preferred as it minimizes the amount of debris that may enter the shelter 10. Preferably the roof louver 502 is made of steel. More preferably the roof louver 502 is made of steel plate. Preferably the roof louver 502 is welded around a perimeter of a hole cut in the cover 100. This will ensure that the roof louver 502 is stable under stress and eliminate any leakage from the area where the roof louver is attached to the cover 100. Alternatively the roof louver 502 may be attached by a bonding agent. One skilled in the art will recognize the roof louver 502 may be constructed from other materials including plastic or aluminum.

Alternatively the ventilation system 500 can be achieved by means of a 180° elbow pipe 520 as shown in FIG. 4. The pipe 520 is installed through the cover 100 so a first opening of the pipe is located outside of the storm shelter 10 and faces toward the cover and a second opening of the pipe opens into the interior of the storm shelter. The exterior opening of the pipe 520 preferably includes a screen, not shown, to limit the entry of debris or animals. Preferably the pipe 520 is made of steel. Alternatively the pipe 520 may be made of a rigid plastic material such as PVC. Other alternative embodiments of the ventilation system 500 are contemplated such as installing a 180° elbow pipe so that it exits from the side of the storm shelter 10 through the base 20 and extends above ground.

Referring again to FIG. 1, it is seen how the storm shelter 10 with integrated seating 24 would appear after installation and with the preferred embodiments of a door 200, anchor system 300, ladder 400, and ventilation system 500. The majority of the components are prefabricated and fitted to the size requirements of the storm shelter 10 so that additional work at the installation site is unnecessary.

To achieve the final form as depicted in FIG. 1, the installer is first required to excavate a hole in the ground of suitable width to accommodate the base 20. The hole must also be of suitable depth so that when the storm shelter 10 is installed only the cover 100 is above ground. Once the excavation is completed the base 20 is positioned in the ground so that it will be level.

Next the cover 100 is installed. Preferably the cover 100 comes from the factory with the door 200 attached to minimize installation time. First the adhesive 108 or other securing means is applied to the interior lip 102. The cover 100 is then lowered onto the base 20 so the lip 102 is securely fastened to the base by the adhesive 108 and a water tight seal is formed.

Once this step is completed, the anchor system 300 is installed. The anchors 302 are imbedded into the ground around the perimeter of the base 20. Next the steel bands 304 are secured to the four anchors 302. Once secured to the anchors 302 the steel bands 304 are secured to the anchor rings 308. The steel bands 304 are attached by means of the bolt assembly 310. The steel bands 304 are secured to the cover 20 so that they have very little slack once installed.

After the anchor system 300 is secure, the excavated area surrounding the base 20 is filled with dirt from the original excavation. This dirt is compacted into the area around the base 20. This is done until the fill dirt is level with the cover 100. Once complete the ladder 400 may be installed by attaching it to the cover 100. After the ladder 400 is secured at one end by the nut and bolt assembly 402 to the cover 100 the chains 404 are attached to the midpoint 403 of the ladder.