October 7, 2015

Retailers should consider stocking building materials or prefab structures to help customers prepare for tornado season.

Peak season for tornadoes may still be a few months off, but retailers should begin thinking about how to help consumers prepare for tornado-related emergencies sooner rather than later.

The fourth deadliest natural disaster in 2013, behind heat, floods and rip currents, tornadoes can strike with minimal warning. The peak of tornado season is beginning a week or two earlier than in the 1950s, the Washington Post reports. And the geographic areas affected by tornadoes are growing. According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), nearly 90 percent of counties in the continental United States have been under a tornado watch since 2003.

Given some of the tragedies experienced in Alabama, Missouri and Oklahoma in recent years, FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson recommends constructing safe rooms to better protect residents from tornadoes.

“Tornado safe rooms are an ideal combination of protection for families and a market opportunity for homebuilders — one of our most critical partners in the disaster-resilience movement. In good weather and bad, everyone wins when it comes to tornado safe rooms,” she said in a news release.


Retailers can help promote these protective spaces by selling building materials needed to construct them, including concrete, steel or prefabricated structures that can be installed on site. Chapman-Henderson notes that the growing popularity of these spaces should continue to make them more affordable and more diverse to meet the needs of different users.

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