Many people mistakenly believe safe rooms are an unnecessary precaution in their homes that will rarely be used. If you have a basement, you’re safe from tornadoes and hurricanes, right? Not necessarily. While basements can offer protection against low-level tornadoes and hurricanes, they can pose problems for people who have trouble going up and down stairs, and they do not offer added protection in tornadoes of higher ratings that can rip down walls and throw heavy debris. Though basements are a great location for a safe room, they do not offer enough protection on their own.
Protection From Severe Weather
Areas of the Midwest and southern United States see more tornadoes, and more violent ones, than anywhere else in the world. On average, there are upwards of 1,200 tornadoes every year in the United States. People who live in “tornado alley,” or east of the Rockies and west of the Appalachians, are strongly encouraged to build tornado safe rooms on their property. Residents of the southern and eastern coastal regions of the United States also need some degree of hurricane protection, as these states see some of the worst hurricanes in the world, as well.
FEMA compliant safe rooms are built to withstand winds of up to 250mph. Winds this strong have the ability to completely decimate houses and throw cars through the air like missiles. This is considered an EF4 – EF5 tornado, and unfortunately, there are not many other places considered “safe” during a tornado of that strength. In residences, safe rooms provide adequate protection from extreme wind speeds as they are built into residential basements and anchored into concrete slabs. However, safe rooms do not necessarily have to be built into basements. Newer FEMA approved pre-built safe rooms can be placed anywhere within a home and are still anchored securely.
In this way, homeowners can covert an unused lower-level closet or bathroom into a safe room without the costly expensive of building a safe room from the ground up. Many pre-built safe rooms come with fold down benches and shelves, covered ventilation, and advanced anchoring features. All safe rooms are made of heavy-duty steel and have doors designed to withstand extreme hazards while also being easy to open, close, and lock.
Other Uses and Benefits for Safe Rooms
Safe rooms can also be used for many other purposes in a residence. Ordinary rooms can be built inside a large safe room, so what appears as a regular bathroom is actually a reinforced safe room in case of emergency.
Safe rooms are also bullet proof and can be built to include cameras and alarm systems to protect residents in the event of a burglary or other intruders entering the home. Many people use their safe rooms as gun safes when they’re not in use. Safe rooms come in many different colors, so if placed outside and painted to match the house, they appear to be just a simple garden shed. In certain areas of the U.S, safe rooms can be funded with grants from the government, and in most cases, they will raise the value of your property.