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Evaluating High Wind Refuge Area Workshop Joplin, Missouri, March 1, 2002

Release date: 
January 14, 2002
Release Number: 

Until recently, there has not been detailed guidance available to assist facility owners and design professionals with the selection and evaluation of high wind refuge areas (areas used as evacuation areas during tornado events) in non-residential buildings. Following the devastating May 1999 tornados in Oklahoma and Kansas, and with the release of FEMA Publication 361, Design and Construction of Guidance for Community Shelters, detailed guidance is now available in the form of an evaluation checklist. To assist with the use of the checklist, FEMA will offer a one-day Evaluating High Wind Refuge Areas workshop.

The workshop will provide the training and tools needed to evaluate potential tornado refuge areas and select the best alternatives. The evaluation is a multi-hazard approach that considers wind, flood, and seismic hazards, and is based on the refuge area evaluation checklist that is included in the FEMA's Design and Construction Guidance for Community Shelters publication.

The primary focus of the workshop is the evaluation of refuge areas for facilities with large numbers of people, such as schools, nursing homes, and commercial facilities. While a background in building science is helpful, individuals without a technical background will gain valuable insights as well. Past participants have included architects, engineers, school administrators, facility managers and emergency management personnel.

The workshop will start at 8:30 a.m., and will end around 4:00 p.m. The workshop is divided into two parts - lecture and exercise. The lecture will provide information on the effects of high winds, assessment of risk, and the evaluation checklist. During the afternoon session, participants will use the checklist to evaluate a sample facility.

The workshop will be held at the Joplin Municipal Building, 303 East Third, Joplin, MO 64801.

FEMA - Region VII has contracted with Kansas State University's Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science to deliver the one-day workshop. The instruction team will consist of Sutton Stephens, S.E., P.E., and Dan Knight, A.I.A. This team of structural engineer and architect has experience and insight to cover the spectrum of issues that surround the design and construction of disaster resistant facility.

The Kansas State University Division of Continuing Education will handle registration for the workshop. There is a registration fee of $25. Lunch will be provided as part of the workshop. Participants may register on line at or by phone at (785) 532-5569, or by FAX at (785) 532-2422. Registration confirmation will be provided within 10 days by KSU. Registration will be limited to thirty individuals.

For an additional fee of $10, participants may receive a Certificate of Participation reporting six (6) contact hours for Professional Development Hours or 0.6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Questions concerning the Certificate of Participation should be directed to the Division of Continuing Education at the number above.

For additional information about the workshop, contact Bob Franke at (816) 283-7073 or For additional information about residential and non-residential tornado shelters, visit the FEMA web site at Additional workshops are planned, check the FEMA - Region 7 web page, for future workshop dates.

This workshop is open to all applicants without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or a...

Last Updated: 
July 19, 2012 - 23:02
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