Safe Room built with ICFWhat is a Saferoom?
A saferoom is a small, windowless room built either inside or outside of a structure to provide you, your family and your belongings protection from severe weather.

How much protection will a Saferoom provide?
A Saferoom built according to FEMA approved plans can provide protection against winds of up to 250 mph or more and projectiles traveling at 100 mph or more - enough to protect the occupants from all but the most devastating tornadoes.

Where should I build a Saferoom?
Many people choose the master closet for the Saferoom. It makes good sense because it protects most of the owners' belongings and it can double as a room to use in case of a home invasion crime.

What will it cost to build a Saferoom?
The average cost to build a Saferoom is $4000 to $5000. Price can vary by size and/or amenities added to the room.

Tornado aftermath and damageTaking
Shelter
From the
Storm:

Building a Safe Room
Inside Your House

Extreme windstorms such as tornadoes and hurricanes pose a serious threat to buildings and their occupants in many areas of the United States. Tornadoes strong enough to damage roofs, destroy mobile homes, snap or uproot large trees, and turn debris into damaging windborne missiles have occurred in virtually every state. Hurricanes have affected all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hawaii has also been affected by hurricanes. Even states not normally considered susceptible to extreme windstorms include areas threatened by dangerous high winds. these areas, typically near mountain ranges, include the Pacific Northwest coast.

Tornado on the plainsDo You Need a Shelter?

Thumbnail of US wind mapThe wind zone map on this page (click for lager size) shows how the frequency and strength of extreme windstorms vary across the United States. This map is based on 40 years of tornado history. Zone IV, the darkest area on the map, has experienced both the greatest number of tornadoes and the strongest tornadoes. As shown by the map key, wind speeds in Zone IV can be as high as 250 mph. The tornado hazard in Zone III, while not as great as in Zone IV, is still significant. In addition to Zone III includes coastal areas susceptible to hurricanes.

Your house was probably built in accordance with local building codes that consider effects of minimum design winds. These are winds that, according to building code requirements, your house must be able to withstand. However, a tornado or hurricane can often cause winds much greater than those on which local building code requirements are based. Your house may be built "to code", but that does not mean that it can withstand winds from extreme events. If you are concerned about wind hazards where you live, especially if you live in Wind Zone III or IV, you should consider building a shelter.

Basis of Shelter Design
The purpose of a wind shelter is to provide a space where you and your family can survive a tornado or hurricane with little or no injury. You can build a shelter in one of several places in your house - in your basement, beneath a concrete slab-on-grade foundation or garage floor, or in an interior room on the first floor. Shelters built below ground level provide the greatest protection, but a shelter built in a first-floor interior room can also provide the necessary protection. Emergency response personnel and people cleaning up after tornadoes have often found an interior room of a severely damaged house still standing when little of the house remains above ground.

Safe Room is the only thing left after this tornado
This "Safe Room" was the only part of this house left standing when the tornado ripped through
this Carbon Hill neighborhood in Alabama. November 2002 Alabama Tornadoes.
Photo courtesy of Gene Dailey

To protect its occupants, an in-house shelter must be able to withstand the forces exerted by high winds and remain standing, even if the rest of the house is severely damaged. Therefore:

 

For guidelines on builing a safe room inside your house please refer to this PDF file from FEMA.
"Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House"

This file is provided in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format.
To obtain a FREE copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader please go HERE.

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