Endorsement or Approval of Specific Manufacturers or Producers

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Federal policy does not allow Federal agencies to endorse, approve, certify, or recommend any contractors, individuals, or firms. Any contractors, individuals, or firms who state they are "FEMA approved" or "FEMA certified" are incorrect.

FEMA Designs

FEMA has produced specific designs for tornado and hurricane safe rooms that are set forth in FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business. FEMA has also produced guidance for larger community safe rooms that is available in FEMA P-361, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms.

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Other Safe Rooms

In addition, FEMA has produced the National Performance Criteria for Tornado Shelters (NPC). For designs different from those in FEMA P-320, the NPC provides general guidance on how to achieve the same level of safety. The National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) has also developed an industry standard for shelters. The NSSA standard provides specific guidance on underground shelters not available in FEMA publications. Shelters built to the NSSA standard provide an "equal or higher" level of protection as the NPC. FEMA strongly encourages manufacturers of safe rooms to consider the NSSA standard or the NPC in the design and construction of their products. However, the determination of a manufacturer that their product meets the NSSA standard or the NPC does not constitute FEMA approval or endorsement.

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Building Permits

Individuals considering purchasing or installing a safe room should contact their local building official about building code requirements but should bear in mind that the extreme loads generated by tornadoes are not covered under model building code requirements. FEMA P-320, the NSSA standard, the NPC, or FEMA P-361 can all be used to address these extreme loads.

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Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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