Importance of Having a Safe Room
A safe room provides individuals with a secure area on their private residence or business for the purpose of having safe shelter, or hiding area, in the even that they, their family members or other individuals are currently under any home invasions, terror attacks, extreme weathers, or other threats.
These structure areas need to be structurally sound and must contain anything necessary to maintain the health and safety of individuals who may occupy the space in the event of a threat.
Safe room (Infographic)
Residential Safe Rooms
If you are skilled at building, you can construct a safe room that will help to ensure that your family will be safe and secure irrespective of what the future brings.
Bellow you can see that you only need creativity and a few tools to make a functional safe room without spending thousands of dollars.
If you are looking for professionally built quality panic rooms, the below infographic shows you everything you need.
Be aware that it is considerably more time-sensitive and expensive to build something of this magnitude.
For safety and security reasons we do not endorse, approve, certify or recommend any specific contractors, individuals, firms or products.
We strongly advice you to do your own research and to be ware of individuals or companies that state that their product or services are "FEMA certified or approved". Also be sure to have your safe room verified through independent testing or engineering analysis to see the best result from your investment.
Public and Community Safe Rooms
Public and community salerooms are much different than residential salerooms. To be considered a FEMA safe room, the structure must be designed and constructed to the guidelines specified in FEMA P-320.
As you can see above, public and community safe rooms have much higher standards and guidelines that they must comply with.
Questions to ask yourself
How much should I expect to pay?
The price of a room that is safe will change depending on numerous variables, including whether the room that is safe is site-built or prefabricated. In general, safe rooms installed in existing houses are more costly than those installed during new building. The price of a room that is safe is determined by an assortment of variables, including:
- Materials used (CMU, concrete, wood, insulated concrete form [ICF], combination)
- Location (if internal, within building; if external, above or below ground)
- Whether the safe room is built as part of a new home or retrofitted into an existing home
- Type of foundation on which the home is built
- Location within the United States (because of regional variations in labor and material costs)
- Type of door used
- Number of exterior home walls used in constructing the safe room
- Any added amenities (e.g., bathroom fixtures)
Should I have a safe room?
Every individual is different and it depends on your personal preference. However, here are some questions to ask yourself?
- What level of safety would make me comfortable?
- What existing refuge options do I have if a tornado or hurricane occurs in my location?
- How feasible is it to construct a safe room and what are the costs?
- How likely is it that a tornado or hurricane will affect my building?
Where should my safe room be located?
There are several potential places in or near your home or business that is small for a room that is safe. It can be either indoors within the building or outside next or detached to the present building and above ground, in-ground or in a cellar.
Many individuals choose to construct within buildings or their houses so they've some degree of protection while trying to reach their safe room.
When determining where to find a safe room, the building owner must discover what's best for her or his demands. For instance, while an interior room that is safe offers the advantage of being closer to the building occupants, an outdoor room that is safe may be more easy to install for a current house.
What is better, above ground safe room or in-ground safe room?
It depends on where your live and what threat you want the most protection from.
In-ground safe rooms provide built-in protection from wind-borne debris afforded by the surrounding land coverage.
Above ground safe rooms are trickier to determine. They must be rigorously examined to ensure they can offer protection from what you most feel threatened by.
So, all correctly constructed safe rooms offer life-safety protection if they can be correctly designed and built.
Where can I find additional information and plans for sate rooms?
Additional information is available at the FEMA Safe Room Web site.
Who can I contact to inspect my safe room?
A professional who is licensed in the state where the safe room is installed can be contracted to evaluate your room. For businesses, contact a local building officials to ascertain who can correctly evaluate your room in order to check the room criteria FEMA P-361 happens to be satisfied.
Resources and References
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
ASCE 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures. (2010)
ASCE 24, Flood Resistant Design and Construction (2014)
International Code Council (ICC)
IBC. International Building Code (2015)
IRC. International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings (2015)ICC 500 ICC/National Storm Shelter Association Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters (2014)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business (2014)
FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms (2015)