A tornado room is described to provide life safety features because of its design and engineering that adhere to stringent ICC 500 and FEMA P-361 standards, thereby protecting communities from tornadoes running at 100 mph plus winds and the resulting effects like flying debris and other dangers.
It is observed that tornadoes are more common in the United States compared to any other countries. The fact is that there are four times more tornadoes in the United States than all of Europe. There is also an observation that the frequency and number of tornadoes reported have increased over the years, plus the intensity and strength are noticeably increasing too.
As severe weather event happens, there is now more likely for more tornadoes to occur with higher winds for these stronger tornadoes. Associated therefore of these winds over 200 mph would be damage and loss of lives, devastations and costs of tragedies that would accompany these events. To solve and prevent these disasters, the International Code Council and the National Storm Shelter Association decided to create 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.
There are several reasons why a building has to have a tornado safe room. It is typical for a house to be built withstanding around 70 mph winds, and note that a tornado with around 70 mph winds would create damage and possible loss of lives, especially if your place or location is prone to hurricanes and tornadoes.
An example of a devastating tornado had wind speed rated at 318 mph, and this does not only cause safety concern and damage, but it also can create deadly flying projectiles and negative and positive 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. Successfully accounted are numerous lives saved in buildings that either have a tornado room or a storm room.
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.