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Glad You Asked: How do we know our weather shelters will keep us safe?

During severe weather, when you go to a safety shelter, how do you know that you will be safe from tornado strength winds?

I'm Glad You Asked.

The building materials for that shelter, whether it's your own or in a public building, all have to be rated. Underwriters Laboratories in Northbrook, IL does a lot of that testing.

"We start with air water structural testing." said principal engineer David Stammen. "So we look for air filtration. Does it leak air? Then we'll go into water testing, does it leak water?"

To demonstrate, UL engineers turned on a giant fan connected to a car engine and blew water at a mock up of a building facade.

Then they loaded the canon.

"Depending on where you are in the US and what the codes require," said Stammen. "You may get into impact and cycle testing. Most of it's taking a 2x4 to simulate debris that's kicked up during a hurricane or storm event. We simulate that that wind-born debris by firing a 2x4 at the product and seeing the effects and what it does to it."

Watch the video to see the 2x4 fired at a window pane at 35mph. (Those windows fail the test).

Tonight on the CBS 58 News at 10, UL also just released new standards for smoke detectors which will be available on the market this spring. The way they've eliminated nuisance alarms, and what you need to know about Safer, Smarter, Smoke Detectors.

Have a curious question you'd like answered on the next Glad You Asked? Ask away! If you've always wondered about something ask Mike Curkov on his Facebook page, on Twitter or email him at GladYouAsked@CBS58.com.

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