Since the horrific events of the Sandy Hook tragedy, parents, school officials and government leaders are searching for ways to keep kids safe. An innovative hideaway unit originally designed to be used during severe weather season could be the answer schools have been looking for.
The unit, called Hide-Away, is on display at the Greater Kansas City Home Show as a storm shelter that protects people from the force of an F5 tornado. But it may have a dual purpose shielding students from a shower of bullets.
"It stands the hair on the back of my neck up when we think about what this could be," said Mike Vogt, the president and CEO of Staying Home Corp.
The storm shelter could be the answer schools are hoping for to keep students safe in a crisis, according to Vogt. He and his team wanted to create a storm shelter easily accessible for the elderly.
"The quarter-inch steel is set up where it would prevent anything, including F5 tornado storm damage," Vogt said. "They take a 20-foot-long air cannon and shoot 2x4s at the shelter that weigh 15 pounds and they shoot them at 100 mph at the sides."
The design tackles two obstacles in the storm shelter industry. It is an above ground shelter made of a quarter-inch steel, so digging in places with ground water or rock issues is no longer a problem. Also, it hardly takes up any space in a home and can be anchored to the floor.
Then he and his team got the idea to make the shelter bulletproof.
"The fact these two came together was just a fluke in the past couple months in light of the Sandy Hook shootings," he said.
The hideaway folds into 15 inches of wall and can quickly be deployed in less than 60 seconds in case of an emergency.
"It's great to fold up behind white boards in schools," Vogt said.
It expands to 21-square-feet of space, securing up to 15 elementary-aged children in a crisis. Placed side-by-side, a whole class can find safety.
KCTV5's Erika Tallan found it easy enough for a petite person of her size to roll open and it can be fitted to deploy automatically at the push of a button.
"A superintendent or teacher could issue a simple command, like lockdown, or whatever into a phone, have doors automatically lock, have emergency personnel contacted, have lights come on, all this could occur simultaneously," Vogt said.
Vogt and his team said there isn't anything else like it on the market.
"And it's an answer without guns, without firearms, that we think could be placed around the country. We're pretty excited about this," he said.
The company has a patent pending on the idea. It is planning a trip next month to California to introduce the idea at the National School Board Show.
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