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Design & Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms

Learn more about community safe rooms as written in the Building Science document FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms.

The third edition of FEMA P-361 is a guidance document for engineers, architects, building officials, and prospective safe room owners. It presents important information about the design and construction of community and residential safe rooms that will provide protection during tornado and hurricane events.

For the purpose of this document, a safe room is defined as a structure that is designed and constructed to protect occupants from tornado and/or hurricane events. FEMA P-361 provides the guidance and references to understand how to plan and design a safe room for various occupant sizes. For planning guidance specific to residential and small business safe rooms, FEMA P-320Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business, also contains relevant information. FEMA P-320 has prescriptive design drawings for residential and small business safe room applications in new construction.

To download these or other FEMA publications visit the FEMA Library. To order this or other publications please call 1-800-480-2520 or fax 1-240-599-0525 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST. You may also email your request to Please provide the title, item number, short number and quantity of each publication, along with your name, address, zip code, and daytime telephone number.

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Last Updated: 
02/04/2016 - 13:48