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Tornado Safety


The Storm Prediction Center in Norman Oklahoma advised action to best action to take at a school that in danger of being touched by a tornado is to go to the interior hall or windowless room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

The above statement has been the go-to answer for many, many years. We’ve been told to hide under your desk, hide in an interior room, or what the Storm Prediction Center in Norma Oklahoma suggests.

The problem with all of these actions are, you are limited in the amount of real protection they offer. They really offer minimal protection from flying debris such as glass but doesn’t offer real solutions to the horrors that tornados bring.

On March 1, 2007, an F-3 tornado directly hit the Enterprise High School in Enterprise, AL at 1:10pm.  The high students had moved to their designated locations in the hallways in accordance with their Emergency Plan.  The tornado lifted a portion of the rood, the interior cider block walls collapsed into the hallways and then the roof came back down.  Eight students were killed and many others injured during the initial impact and others trying to depart the rumble and debris.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory says “The damage from tornadoes comes from the strong winds they contain. It is generally believed that tornadic wind speeds can be as high as 300 mph in the most violent tornadoes. Wind speeds that high can cause automobiles to become airborne, rip ordinary homes to shreds, and turn broken glass and other debris into lethal missiles. The biggest threat to living creatures (including humans) from tornadoes is from flying debris and from being tossed about in the wind.”

In 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cataloged 985 tornados, with 10 of those being fatal tornados which resulted in 17 deaths. These numbers also resulted in a curious find. Of the 17 fatalities, only 3 were located in the areas that you would associate with tornados, Oklahoma and Texas. The rest were spread out over 5 states, all in the south. From Louisiana (1 death) to Virginia (4 deaths), it’s proving that there are no “hot spots” for tornados anymore.

If you have visited our “Active Shooters” page, you will know the best way
But just like everything else in the world, there must be a better answer to make sure that you are safe and that you are somewhere, that is not only strong but will also protect from flying debris.


BIG 6 Introduces the VAST6!

The VAST6 is a cutting edge design that keeps everyone safe during active shooter events and tornados. This is "security through physical design", ultimate security protection for students and teachers.

The VAST6 is an innovative collapsible active shooter protection, available for entry in less than 20 seconds and meets FEMA 453 active shooter ballistic requirements and certified F-5 Tornado protection from FEMA P-361 specifications.

When the VAST6 is folded way, it is only 28” thick and takes up limited floor space. The VAST6 unit itself can be scaled to fit just about any class size to make sure there is room for everyone to feel safe and secure.

The ballistic panels meet FEMA Manual 453, National Institute of Justice Level III, and UL 752, Level 8 requirements.

What does that mean? The VAST6 design addresses the FEMA P-361 requirements to withstand the 250-mph winds and debris from a F-5 tornado.  The primary and front anchoring for the VAST6 will withstand the 250-mph wind force..  The debris testing standard is a 15 lb. 2x4 board traveling horizontally at 100 mph and VAST6 (all sides doors and roof) can withstand these missile impacts.  The VAST6 can also withstand 500 tons of overhead debris on its roof, due to the vertical structural support the ballistic material provides.  An optional emergency egress (escape hatch that opens either out or in) is available in the event debris blocks the outward opening of the main VAST6 door.

Other benefits of using ballistic panels instead of steel:

The unit can even be painted in your school colors or match the color scheme of the school itself.

Key Features of the VAST6

American Disabilities Act Compliant

With its integrated wheelchair ramp, its height accessible touchscreen and locking mechanism, it meets all requirements of the ADA.

3 Point Main door latching system

The VAST 6 offers 2 slide bolts latches that locks into side frame and 1 slide bolt latches that lock into top frame. This system is accessible from wheelchair height.

Primary Anchoring System

The VAST6 anchoring system boasts an anchoring system on one anchor per foot of shelter width that can hold up to 45,000 pounds per square foot.

Front Anchoring System

Ball lock pins slide through frame, through metal deck plate into ball lock pin receptacle below the deck plate. This feature is for added protection during a tornado event.

Incoming Ventilation Vents

5 directional vents  (3 vents in the front, 1 left side, and 1 right side vent) with 360-degree directional spin with full open to full close capability.

Ventilation Access Protection

Armored bullet stop design for intake and exhaust fans’ airflow access

Integrated Power Systems

There are 2 independently wired 12-volt batteries, each capable of powering the VAST6 electrical system for 12 -24 hours, in the case there is a power failure at the facility.  There is a "smart" battery conditioner that constantly monitors and recharges each battery.

USB recharging capable during both AC (internal power) and DC (when on facility power) power configuration.

Designated Storage

Normally equipped by the user with storage available for water, first aid kit, hearing protection/ear plugs, dust masks, radio, and other supplies.

Fire extinguisher

Each VAST6 has a designated storage position for its fire extinguisher. An internal camera system can photograph the fire extinguisher gauge and report via WiFi for monthly verification of the fire extinguisher without having to open the VAST6.

Touchscreen control

The touchscreen gives continual monitoring of sub-systems for battery power and controls for fans and lights. Is also accessible from wheelchair height.

LED illumination

The LED lighting system offers adjustable light levels, uses low energy, radiates low heat, are high reliability and have a very long life.

Speaker Box with Audible alarms

Speaker mounted outside of VAST6 in the armored box offers 2 different very loud audible alarm tones to choose from, and which is controlled from the touchscreen.

Local organization establishes the purpose for each alarm tone

Find out more about the VAST6 and how it can protect the most important part of our lives...our children!