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Safe Room Publications and Resources

The free safe room resources listed below have been developed by FEMA's Building Science Branch.

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FEMA is constantly innovating and developing new resources. Sign up for Building Science emails to get the latest news and information.

Have a question? View Frequently Asked Questions about the design and construction of safe rooms. If the answer to your question isn’t there, email the Safe Room Helpline or call (866) 927-2104.

Safe Room Publications

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The criteria for a safe room are provided in FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms

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Basic safe room information and construction drawings for site-built safe rooms are provided in FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building or Installing a Safe Room for Your Home

FEMA’s safe room guidance also references criteria in ICC 500, Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.

Additional Resources

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Search for safe room case studies in our Mitigation Best Practices library.

Legacy and Historical Information

Please note that FEMA does not provide inspection services, nor endorse, approve, certify, or recommend any contractors, individuals, firms, or products. Contractors, individuals, and firms, are prohibited from stating that they are, or produce products that are, "FEMA approved" or "FEMA certified."

The following MAT Reports include safe room or wind shelter related observations and may be downloaded from FEMA’s Mitigation Assessment Team website:

  •  FEMA P-1020 Formal Observation Report - Tornado: Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013
  •  FEMA P-908, Mitigation Assessment Team Report - Spring 2011 Tornadoes: April 25-28 and May 22
  •  FEMA 342, Building Performance Assessment Team Report - Midwest Tornadoes of May 3, 1999
  •  FEMA P-2077, Mitigation Assessment Team Report – Hurricane Michael In Florida
  •  FEMA P-2020, Mitigation Assessment Team Report – Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico
  •  FEMA P-757, Mitigation Assessment Team Report – Hurricane Ike in Texas and Louisiana
  • FEMA P-549, Mitigation Assessment Team Report – Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast
  • FEMA P-489, Mitigation Assessment Team Report – Hurricane Ivan in Alabama and Florida
  • FEMA P-488, Mitigation Assessment Team Report – Hurricane Charley in Florida
  • Highlights of ICC 500 - 2014
  • Fair Grove Community Safe Room Operations & Maintenance Plan
  • Joplin Schools Community Safe Room Operations & Maintenance Plan

Wall Sections That Passed Previous Missile Impact Test

The Texas Tech University National Wind Institute (NWI) provides reports on wall sections that passed previous missile impact testing standards, and more information on the testing protocol. The testing on these wall sections may or may not have been more stringent than current standards, and it is important to note that they may not necessarily pass current missile impact testing.

Report information typically includes a description of the wall construction— stud wall with plywood and/or metal sheathing, stud wall with concrete infill, reinforced CMU wall, insulating concrete form wall—cross-section illustration, test missile speed and description of damage. The list can be used by consumers and industry as a resource of knowledge gained from past testing to determine which wall sections could be considered for use in a safe room application.

Related Agencies and Organizations