Safe Rooms Save Lives

Supermoms and superdads always install a safe room to protect their family from high winds.

Safe rooms save lives

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Tornado Safe Room Tips

Safe Room Construction Options

  • Safe rooms can be site-built or manufactured and can be installed in new or existing homes.
  • Site-built safe rooms can be constructed with concrete, concrete masonry, and combinations of wood frame and steel sheathing or concrete masonry infill.
  • Manufactured safe-rooms are usually built at a plant or assembled on-site.


  • Wind Forces and Debris Impacts – Safe rooms must be designed for wind speeds up to 250 mph and debris impacts from a 15 lb. 2×4 board traveling at 100 mph.
  • Safe rooms must be structurally independent from the main structure of your home.
  • Safe rooms must be securely anchored to the foundation or to a reinforced concrete slab.
  • Safe rooms installed in or over a crawl space must have a separate foundation.
  • All components of safe rooms, including walls, ceilings, and door assemblies, must be designed, tested to resist specified wind forces and prevent perforation by windborne debris.
  • Safe rooms must have adequate ventilation.


  • Safe rooms can be located on the first floor, in a basement or outside a home.
  • Shelters located outside your home should be accessed immediately when a storm warning is issued.

Testing and Quality Verification

  • Site-built safe rooms should be constructed in accordance with the prescriptive designs of FEMA 320 guidance Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business, and meet the ICC/NSSA 500 standard.
  • Manufactured safe rooms and site built safe rooms that deviate from FEMA 320 or the ICC/NSSA 500 standard must be tested for debris impact resistance at an approved laboratory such as the Wind Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University.
  • Verification of compliance with National Storm Shelter Association’s “Association Standard,” required for membership in the Association, provides the highest level of residential shelter quality.

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