KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Shawnee Planning Commission has invited representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Johnson County Emergency Management Department and the county's Project Impact coordinator to discuss the performance criteria for Safe Rooms in new, slab-on-grade construction at its next meeting, scheduled for December 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Shawnee City Hall, 11110 Johnson Drive.
FEMA estimates that adding a Safe Room would cost an additional $3,500 to $4,500 for a 64-square foot shelter, depending on the materials used. Having a shelter built into a house can help protect people from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds. It can also reduce the anxiety associated with the threat of severe weather such as a tornado or thunderstorm. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recorded that eastern Kansas, which includes Shawnee, has received between 6 to 10 tornados per 1,000 square miles, indicating that the city of Shawnee is in a high-risk tornado area.
FEMA will have a model Safe Room on hand for viewing and Johnson County Emergency Management will also have a scale Safe Room display. The public is invited to this hearing.
Beth Freeman, director of FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., said Safe Rooms are proven technology that people in the Midwest should seriously consider when building any structure.
"Tornados and strong winds cause injury and cost millions of dollars each year in damage or lost property so a Safe Room is a sound investment for any new building," Freeman said.
Project Impact is a national disaster prevention initiative developed in partnership with states and FEMA, encouraging communities to assess their risks from natural hazards and to implement strategies and actions that will limit damage before disasters strike again.
For more information on Safe Rooms, visit FEMA's website on the subject at www.fema.gov/mit/saferoom/. For a copy of "Taking Shelter From the Storm," call 1-800-565-3896 and ask for publication FEMA 320. To order only the construction plans, request publication 320A.