A safe room is a room that is used for unexpected emergencies, especially those brought on by the weather. Whether the safe room is built in a basement, garage, or within the interior space of a home, it is meant to keep the occupant safe from things like high winds and tornadoes, theft, burglary, or earthquakes.
General Safety Measures
Safety is a priority for any homeowner. Make sure you have proper installation of electrical lines, as well as carbon monoxide and fire alarms. Any doors or windows should have proper locks, and you will need to have a source for fresh air or ventilation.
Follow FEMA Guidelines
When constructing a safe room, your contractor should follow the guidelines set and established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. FEMA provides guidelines that aid homeowners in building a safe room that can withstand tornado-force winds and flying debris.
A Reinforced and Safe Place
Using the previously mentioned guidelines, homeowners can construct a room that is not only reinforced and secure but well-stocked with the necessary provisions. Constructing the space will give you the added assurance that you have a room where you and your family can escape to in case of natural disasters or other threats.
Reduce your Homeowner’s Insurance Costs
If you build a safe room, be sure you tell your insurance agent about the addition. Taking the precaution is worth the effort in terms of your home costs. You can lower the amount you are paying on your homeowner’s insurance if you take the time to construct this kind of shelter on your property.
A Safe Room Protects You from the Elements
Anyone who has had to clean up a home after a flood or fire can appreciate the need to build a safe room. It provides peace of mind when you have a place where you can go and feel protected during a traumatic time.
Many homeowners may also consider building a safe room underground. However, choosing a basement or underground shelter may not be the best choice if you live in a flood zone. Building a safe room, especially underground, will not prove to be that safe in this case as the room can fill with water. In this situation it is better to take refuge on higher ground.
In order to build an underground shelter for protection against high winds, such as hurricanes and tornados, you will need to check on the condition of the soil first before you build. Soils that freeze during winter will put added stress on a concrete wall. Also, if your building site is made up of bedrock, it may prove costly to prepare the site.
Choosing a Location
A safe room is generally built on the main level of home, constructed on a separate slab, or placed in a basement or crawl space. When building a safe room for a basement, one or more of the walls that do not contain windows can be used for shelter walls. Shelters must also include a ceiling that is resistant to the penetration of any type of debris.
For homes with a crawl space, the safe room must be built on a separate foundation. It may be less costly then to build a shelter made of concrete which sits adjacent to the main house.