March 27, 2024

One western Kentucky business took extra steps to safeguard their employees. While working at the tornado shelter at the Lee S. Jones Convention Center, Chad Cowan stopped by. He is the Safety and Health director for Independent Stave Company which locally includes Benton Wood Products.

Cowan assisted in the purchase of two safe rooms for the Benton facility that are able to withstand an EF-5 tornado. These facilities have enough capacity to house the workers during a shift. “The third shift was on that night, the weekend shift, and they were able to get all of their folks into the shelters,” Cowan said.

He said that these are above-ground safe rooms that are engineered to withstand an EF-5 tornado. “They are reinforced concrete rooms without windows, the doors are triple hinged,” he said. “We are glad that we had them.”

The tornado passed about a mile away.

The shelters at Benton Wood Products are from a company called Safe Shed out of Illinois. Two other companies Cowan has researched include Storm Box which uses recycled, reinforced shipping containers and Survive a Storm which builds safe rooms for larger capacity groups. Independent There are many companies that can be found online and we have local companies that install in-ground safe rooms. Independent State is planning to install…

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