CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Having a safe room built into your house can help you protect yourself and your family from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds.
Emergency response personnel and people cleaning up after tornadoes often have found an interior room of a severely damaged home still standing when little of the rest of the house remains.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Wind Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University have developed specifications for such a safe room. "This room is designed to withstand sustained winds up to 250 miles per hour and to resist penetration by a 15 pound, 2 x 4 stud traveling at 100 miles per hour," said Federal Coordinating Officer Curt Musgrave.
Iowa is susceptible to severe winds and tornadoes. "We encourage people to consider building safe rooms," said Jerry Ostendorf, State of Iowa Coordinating Officer. "FEMA and Texas Tech have published Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room inside Your House. This 25-page illustrated booklet provides a homeowner risk assessment sheet, guidance for selecting a shelter design, detailed construction plans, materials and cost estimates for building an in-home safe room"
Homeowners who receive a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to repair or rebuild a damaged or destroyed home may use some of the loan proceeds to construct a safe room. The SBA can also increase the approved disaster loan by up to 20 percent to cover the cost of adding a safe room.
Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room inside Your House is available free from FEMA. To obtain a copy, call FEMA publications at 1-888-565-3896.