Joe Bussell has owned the Hidden Lake RV park in Ardmore, Oklahoma for 5 years..

“Recreational vehicles are a lot of fun but the worst place you can be in the event of a tornado” said Bussell.

Bussell said after seeing the damage that tornadoes can cause, not only in Joplin but close to home he decided this year it was time to make the park safer for his guests.

“A couple years ago there were tornadoes that came through Lone Gove and did heavy damage at a mobile home park, lost a life, and at that time I decided I wanted to build a storm shelter here” said Bussell.

The new storm shelter is 40 feet long and 8 feet wide, it was completed two months ago and can hold just over a hundred people.

Storm Shelter at Hidden Lake RV Park in Ardmore, Oklahoma Exterior

The shelter was created from a used cargo shipping container, the kind used to ship goods overseas. Once the container was in place, the sides were shored up with concrete and gravel, and additional dirt was mounded around it. Railroad ties and steel piping were used to wall off the loose gravel and dirt and add a bit of rustic styling to the front entrance. After ventilation was added, the top was capped off with a thick concrete slab, which can also serve as a base for future construction.

Storm Shelter Hidden Lake RV Park in Ardmore, Oklahoma - Interior

The interior walls were painted to give the shelter a cleaner look. Bench seating was added to the sides, and ample room was left for standing or for guests who need extra accomodations, such as wheelchairs or mobility scooters. Overhead lighting was installed and emergency lights were provided in case of power loss. We also included power outlets for weather alert radios, etc.

“Haven’t used it yet but it’s there if we need it” said Bussell.

Emergency officials say RV and Mobile home parks are not the only places where people are vulnerable.14 % of those killed in the Joplin tornado were in their cars. Experts said if you are in your vehicle you should leave it immediately and seek shelter.

4661 Hedges Road, Ardmore, OK

 (580) 220-2900 ‎ ·

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