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E – 1597 – Building a Storm-Resistant Safe Room

Intended Audience: engineers in government agencies and the military



Learn how to build a storm-resistant safe room in our online course developed by Dr. Rossow.

Every year, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme windstorms injure and kill people, and cause millions of dollars of property damage in the U.S. Even so, more and more people build homes in tornado and hurricane-prone areas, possibly putting themselves in the path of such storms.

The material in this course covers the design and construction of storm-resistant safe rooms that provide near-absolute protection from tornado or hurricane winds and associated flying debris.

This online engineering PDH course is based on the 2014 FEMA publication, “Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business,” and the designs considered are applicable to homes, small businesses, and small community shelters.

Learning Objectives

At the successful conclusion of this course, you’ll be able to identify and discuss:

  • Procedures for assessing risk and determining if building a safe room is appropriate
  • Alternative safe-room locations such as underneath, in the basement, or in an interior room of a new home or small business
  • Effects of type of foundation on safe-room design
  • Design guidance on how to add a safe room to an existing structure
  • Selection of appropriate construction materials
  • Safe-room designs for homes or small businesses that meet or exceed the minimum shelter design requirements from the ICC-500 Storm Shelter Standard
  • Cost estimation for safe-room construction

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