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Give Me Shelter: Weather Violence Increasing Demand for Safe Rooms

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A Ford Escort is lifted above the "safe room" of an eco-house built by Florida-based Armour Homes Thursday afternoon, April 9, 2008, before it is dropped 65 feet onto the roof in a durability test in Greensburg, Kan. The home is designed to withstand more than 200 mph winds with debris. (AP Photo/The Hutchinson News, Kristen Roderick)


Building a new home with the plans for making it a tornado proof house would run approximately 20% or more than the normal home. Texas Tech’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center website tells us that a home’s walls, roof, windows, doors and garage doors would have to be “missile resistant” for it to be considered tornado-proof. The entire home would have to be able to stop projectiles hurling through the air at 200 mph, depending on the level of the tornado. Instead of building a new home, it is suggested that residents in high-risk areas build a safe room or a storm cellar (storm shelter). Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says these small rooms provide “a very high probability that the occupants of a safe room built according to [our] guidance will avoid injury or death.”

If you are considering a safe room in your existing home and you are in the market for a high-end project with steel doors, dedicated phone lines, a backup generator, and concealed doorway as you may have seen Jodie Foster run to in the 2002 movie, “Panic Room”, then you are talking about writing a check in the area of $50,000 or more. If you want to reinforce a room in your home which would be safe but not as elaborate, take an interior room such as a walk-in closet or bathroom and turn it into a safe room. The room should be on the lowest floor. Walls can be framed with plywood if a storm shelter or basement is not available. These safe rooms would probably cost around $2,000 to complete. Insulation of a room could also be enhanced by adding concrete-filled foam blocks and steel reinforcements between the walls and roof to protect against strong winds.

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Posted by FanningCommunications on May 1st, 2012 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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