Former firefighter says monolithic domes will save lives in hurricanes, tornadoes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A former Miami-Dade County firefighter has renewed a push for the construction of monolithic concrete domes to save lives during hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters.

David Pressler, founder of DRD Enterprises , said the domes can withstand the intense winds of a category five hurricane or EF5 tornado.

"Everybody that has a house and a backyard should have a safe room," Pressler said. "[If] the foundation and the dome [are] all tied together with rebar … there is no piece that is going to fly off."

The domes, which measure approximately nine feet high and are approximately ten feet in diameter weigh about eight tons.

They are able to withstand the winds because of their shape and weight, Pressler said.

Laura Dierks, a West Palm Beach resident, built a SafeDome next to her home after hurricanes destroyed seven homes in her neighborhood in 2005.

"We had to get something that we could stay in," Dierks said. "If I lose my home that will be my home for a while."

Pressler stocked her dome with a bunk bed that sleeps four people and hurricane supplies.

"I don't want to go to a shelter," Dierks said. "That will be my home for a while."

Pressler said SafeDomes cost approximately $8,500 and take about six weeks to build.

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