Give Me Shelter: Weather Violence Increasing Demand for Safe Rooms
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
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