FEMA releases safe room fact sheets
Safe room door assemblies are one of the most important components of a safe room because they must provide the same level of protection as the walls and roof, yet also remain functional for quick access. The Building Science Branch of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released additional guidance on safe room doors through the recently updated fact sheet — Residential Tornado Safe Room Doors — and a new fact sheet — Community Tornado Safe Room Doors: Installation and Maintenance.
The updated Residential Tornado Safe Room Doors Fact Sheet provides graphics and useful information regarding selecting adequate door assemblies for residential safe rooms. The fact sheet has been updated to reflect the updates made to the ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters (ICC 500) from the first 2008 to second 2014 edition.
The new Community Tornado Safe Room Doors: Installation and Maintenance Fact Sheet provides information about the selection, installation and maintenance of safe room door assemblies for community safe rooms. It is recommended that safe room door assemblies are regularly maintained to protect their functionality and maximize their life span. The fact sheet covers what should be checked and how often, as well as several solutions related to the maintenance of safe room door assemblies. While the fact sheet discusses community safe room door assemblies, some of the information in the fact sheet is pertinent to owners of residential safe rooms.
A properly built, high wind safe room — designed to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour and offer lifesaving refuge for families in the path of high-wind events like tornadoes — protects your family from the most intense tornadoes and hurricanes and can be incorporated into a planned build or renovation to create a multiuse space in your home, adding to its value. Safe rooms can be located anywhere on the first floor of your home, in a basement or outside. When designed to meet the standards set forth by the International Code Council, the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) and FEMA, a safe room will stand up to the most intense tornadoes and hurricanes.
Published jointly by the Code Council and NSSA and referenced in the newest building safety codes, the ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters (ICC 500) provides minimum design and construction requirements for storm shelters that provide a safe refuge from storms that produce high winds, hurricanes and tornadoes. The magnitude of wind speeds associated with these events require building occupants and residents to evacuate the area or seek protection in a shelter designed for resistance to extraordinary loads and flying debris. The ICC 500-2014: ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters and the ICC 500-2014 Standard and Commentary: ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters provide design requirements for the main wind-resisting structural system and components and cladding of these shelters, and provides basic occupant life safety and health requirements for these shelters, including means of egress, lighting, sanitation, ventilation, fire safety and minimum required floor space for occupants.
In addition, the Code Council offers a wide selection of tornado safety and recovery resources, and the newest International Codes developed by Code Council members now require storm shelters in newly built educational occupancies and critical emergency operation centers located in areas prone to extreme tornados.