“Safe T Homes” Save Lives in Haiti during Hurricane Matthew

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- With winds reaching up to 145 miles per hour, Hurricane Matthew was categorized as one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history, but it was no match for the so called Safe T Home. “It has steel doors and window panels that can be shut through steel and then perforated metal for ventilation as well, and that’s the reason we call it Safe T Home, that people can be safe and secure in it and at a very low cost situation," said Charles Sukup, president of Sukup Manufacturing Company.

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010,  Sukup Manufacturing Company, (the world's largest family-owned and operated grain storage, drying and handling equipment manufacturer) headquartered in Sheffield, Iowa, partnered with GoServe Global, a non-profit organization out of Eagle Grove, Iowa, to make a difference. "We got into it, particularly because of the earthquake a number of years ago, the complete devastation, and then still a year or two afterward, there were people still living in tent cities...We teamed up to provide these Safe T Homes for people that were desperate and have so little," said Sukup.

The Safe T Homes are essentially modified steel grain bins that were made here in Iowa. “We make lots of steel grain bins, you see them across the Midwest for protecting and preserving particularly corn, soybeans, all sorts of grain. Sell them worldwide, but we modified an 18 foot grain bin with a double roof to protect it from the heat. It can also capture water and then put on ballast boxes, which for the hurricane here was particularly key, so rather than anchoring this steel structure to the ground, it was weighted down with the rock and dirt that’s put in these ballast boxes, almost look like window boxes," said Sukup.

Early reports indicate that while only 10% of the traditional homes in the area were left standing after Hurricane Matthew, all 200 of the Safe T Homes in Haiti withstood the storm with just minimal damage. GoServ Global states that at their John 3:16 Village, people from the community "crammed as many people as possible into the Safe T Homes (up to 60 in one Safe T Home)."