Having a safe room in your home or small business can help provide "near-absolute protection" for you and your family or your employees from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds. Near-absolute protection means that, based on our current knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes, there is a very high probability that the occupants of a safe room built according to this guidance will avoid injury or death.
A safe room can also relieve some of the anxiety created by the threat of an incoming tornado or hurricane. Our knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes and their effects is based on substantial meteorological records as well as extensive investigation of damage to buildings from extreme winds. All information contained in this publication is applicable to safe rooms for use in homes as well as in small businesses.
This publication will help you decide how best to provide near-absolute protection for yourself, your family, or employees and answers many questions concerning safe rooms. It includes the results of research that has been under way for more than 30 years, by Texas Tech University's Wind Science and Engineering (WISE; formerly known as the Wind Engineering Research Center or WERC) and other wind engineering research facilities, on the effects of extreme winds on buildings.?Download the entire FEMA 320 document.
FEMA 320 also provides safe room designs that will show you and your builder/contractor how to construct a safe room for your home or small business.
Design options include safe rooms located in the basement, in the garage, or in an interior room of a new home or small business building. Other options also provide guidance on how to construct an exterior safe room, either buried underground or attached to the existing building, or how to modify an existing home or small business building to add a safe room inside. These safe rooms are designed to provide near-absolute protection for you, your family, or employees from the extreme winds expected during tornadoes and hurricanes and from flying debris that tornadoes and hurricanes usually generate.?Download the safe room construction plans and specifications.???
The safe room designs presented in this publication meet or exceed all tornado and hurricane design criteria of the ICC-500 for both the tornado and hurricane hazards.