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The announcements for the most up-to-date releases of FEMA Building Science publications are listed below.

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Release of Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms, FEMA P-361

The FEMA Building Science Branch is pleased to announce the third edition of FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms. This update of FEMA P-361 provides the most current, up-to-date guidance on constructing a safe room that provides near-absolute protection from the deadly winds and windborne debris associated with extreme-wind events for its occupants. The information presented in FEMA P-361 is the culmination of many years of FEMA-sponsored post-disaster investigations into the performance of safe rooms and storm shelters during tornadoes and hurricanes.

FEMA P-361 includes information for safe room designers, owners, and emergency management officials useful for planning, designing, and operating a safe room. Especially useful for designers, Part B of the publication has eight chapters that correspond to the chapters of the recently released 2014 version of the International Code Council’s® (ICC) Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, known as ICC 500. The ICC 500 was first released in 2008 and incorporated much of what was presented in the first edition of FEMA P-361. The two newly updated documents now complement each other to cover every aspect of safe rooms and storm shelters, although there are some differences. Each chapter in Part B identifies any differences between FEMA recommended criteria and ICC 500 requirements. All safe rooms constructed with FEMA grant funds must adhere to the FEMA recommended criteria described in Part B of FEMA P-361. FEMA P-361 can now be accessed and downloaded for free from the FEMA Library.

Release of Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business, FEMA P-320

The FEMA Building Science Branch is pleased to announce the fourth edition of FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business. A safe room built for your home or small business can provide near-absolute protection for you and your family or employees from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds such as tornadoes and hurricanes. FEMA P-320 helps home or small business owners assess their risk and determine the best type of safe room for their needs. FEMA P-320 includes safe room designs and shows you and your builder/contractor or registered design professional how to construct a safe room for your home or small business. Since the first edition of FEMA P-320 was issued in 1998, more than 1,000,000 copies of the publication have been distributed. FEMA P-320 can now be accessed and downloaded for free from the FEMA Library.

Announcing the release of the Hurricane Sandy Mitigation Assessment Team Report!

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Science Branch would like to announce the release of FEMA P-942, Mitigation Assessment Team Report: Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York.  The report documents observations made during field visits conducted by the Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT), specifically deployed to evaluate key building damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.  It goes on to present the conclusions and recommendations derived from the field observations with regards to key engineering concepts, codes and standards, mitigation measures and considerations that can be used in the planning and recovery process to help minimize future damage to structures and their related utility systems.

The recommendations for disaster-resistant practices in hurricane-prone regions presented in the report are applicable to planners; decision makers; designers; contractors; building officials; federal, state and local government officials; building owners and operators; emergency managers and homeowners.

Observations, conclusions and recommendations related to the following topics are included in the report:

  • Building Codes and Standards
  • Flood Protective Measures
  • Residential Construction
  • Critical Facilities and Key Assets
  • Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Systems

FEMA P-942 can now be accessed and downloaded for free from the FEMA Library.

Should you have any questions or comments related to the Hurricane Sandy MAT Report, please contact the Building Science Helpline (866)-927-2104 or FEMA-Buildingsciencehelp@fema.dhs.gov.

Please visit the Building Science Branch homepage for additional multi-hazard mitigation information and resources.  

Release of Floodproofing Non-Residential Buildings, FEMA P-936

The latest information on dry floodproofing technologies is now available. The FEMA Building Science Branch is pleased to announce the release of its latest publication, Floodproofing Non-Residential Buildings, FEMA P-936. The primary focus of the guidance document is on dry floodproofing technologies for non-residential buildings but it also includes an overview of other techniques including wet floodproofing and the use of levees and floodwalls. The publication provides information about regulatory requirements, design considerations and descriptions of floodproofing methods and equipment. It was developed using input from a steering committee consisting of industry professionals, designers, academic researchers and USACE Floodproofing Committee members, as well as FEMA engineers and mitigation staff.

Key document features include:

  • Tools to assist the designer or building owner in determining the best floodproofing option for a particular building including a vulnerability checklist
  • Case studies providing examples of applied floodproofing techniques
  • Equations for determining flood forces and loads
  • A summary of results from recent dry floodproofing research and testing for new construction

Helpline Established

The Building Science Branch has established a helpline (phone and email) for questions related to building science issues:
(866) 927-2104
FEMA-Buildingsciencehelp@dhs.gov

Last Updated: 
04/24/2015 - 11:51
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