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Safe Room Protection Against Tornadoes and Hurricanes

  • Published: 2011-05-05 - Contact: FEMA
  • Synopsis: A safe room in a house can protect your family from deadly high winds associated with a tornado or hurricane.

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A safe room can protect a family from the deadly high winds associated with a tornado or hurricane.

While it may not have the allure of granite countertops or a whirlpool bathtub, a residential safe room is one rock-solid home improvement worth considering. A safe room can protect a family from the deadly high winds associated with a tornado or hurricane.

"Any time is a good time to install a safe room, but when a home undergoes restoration that's the best time to include a hardened bathroom or a reinforced closet," said Mike Bolch, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in North Carolina. "It's easier and less expensive to plan and build a safe room during a full-scale repair."

A small interior room on the lowest living level of a home is the most practical location because warning times for tornadoes can be very short, making quick access to the safe room important.

The safe room could be described as a room within a room that will remain intact even if the surrounding house sustains major damage. The room needs to be rated to withstand winds in excess of 200 mph and flying debris that could include tree limbs, two-by-fours and concrete blocks.

The FEMA publication Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business helps home and business owners assess their risk and determine the best type of safe room for their needs. The publication also provides designs for basement, in-ground and above-ground safe rooms.

The publication can be downloaded at: www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.doid=1536.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA ( 3362 ). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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