Winds with 100 mph strength, tornadoes, and flying debris would threaten our safety, thus a tornado room with a design and engineering under ICC 500 and FEMA P-361 standards, has life safety features to protect us from these natural calamities.
It is observed that tornadoes are more common in the United States compared to any other countries. Statistics showed that there are four times more tornadoes in fact in the United States than all of Europe combined. Be informed too that the intensity, strength, frequency and amounts of reported tornadoes have increased over the years.
As severe weather event happens, there is now more likely for more tornadoes to occur with higher winds for these stronger tornadoes. Thus it is observed that there is an increase of devastating costs and tragedies and damage and loss of life would accompany whenever winds of over 200 mph of multiple tornadoes would occur. Because of this, the International Code Council and the National Storm Shelter Association created the first Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters and safe rooms. As a result, a built-in tornado room is designed to increase in schools, tornado safe rooms and buildings.
People have to know the importance of tornado safe rooms in their buildings. Imagine your house is built to withstand around 70 mph winds, but if you are located in a tornado and hurricane prone areas with over 200 mph winds, damage and loss of lives could possibly happen.
The wind speed of one of the most devastating tornadoes on record had a wind speed of 318 mph, which not caused safety concerns and damage, but also created flying projectiles that are deadly, and also created positive and negative wind pressure. With that wind, roofs were lifted off and buildings were separated from their foundations, with flying debris penetrating metals at those speeds.
The many destructions led for associations and agencies to create codes especially on areas that are prone to severe tornadoes and hurricanes, with communities adopting ICC 500 as building code in their areas. Thus buildings with either a storm room or a tornado room, are said to have helped saved many lives.
A tornado room would involve building sturdier walls, roof structures, and tornado safe room doors. The roof should have the capability to transfer wind loads to the walls, and the walls to the foundation or ground.
Be aware that there are companies that would help you design tornado rooms with security in mind. They can design in sleek construction, with an open and airy appearance, of your safe room doors which can be hidden above your ceiling.