Storm Shelters : Tornado Shelters & Hurricane Safe Rooms
Grants, funding opportunities and various initiatives are available for individuals wishing to build a residential storm shelter. See the resources below for additional information:
Safe Room Funding
SBA Disaster Loans
Homeowners who receive a disaster assistance loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to repair or rebuild a damaged or destroyed home may use some of the loan proceeds to construct a tornado shelter. The SBA can also increase the approved disaster loan by up to 20 percent to cover the cost of adding a safe room.
Community Development Block Grant Funds
On December 3, 2003, the President signed into law the Tornado Shelters Act (Public Law 108-146), which amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, authorizing communities to use community development block grant funds to construct tornado safe shelters in manufactured home parks. To be eligible, a storm shelter must be located in a neighborhood or park that contains at least 20 units, consists predominately of low- and moderate-income households, and is in a state where a tornado has occurred within the current year or last 3 years. The storm shelter must comply with tornado-appropriate safety and construction standards, be large enough to accommodate all members of the park/neighborhood, and be located in a park/neighborhood that has a warning siren. Community development block grant funds are funded through HUD.
FHA Mortgage Insured Financing
On January 14, 2000, as part of HUD/FHA’s continuing efforts to be responsive to public safety concerns, HUD began allowing borrowers to include windstorm shelters as an eligible work item for FHA 203(k) rehabilitation loans and FHA 203(b) financed new construction (see HUD Disaster Recovery Assistance). Shelters financed with FHA-insured mortgages must be constructed consistent with the guidelines presented in FEMA publication 320 and the National Performance Criteria for Tornado Shelters.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funds
FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) assists states and local communities in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following a major disaster declaration. As of November 1, 2004, all communities must have an approved hazard mitigation plan in place to remain eligible for HMGP funding. HMGP grants can be used to fund projects that provide protection to both public as well as private properties. Projects that are eligible under the HMGP grant include (but are not limited to) acquiring and demolishing or relocating structures from hazard-prone areas; retrofitting structures to protect them from floods, high winds, earthquakes, or other natural hazards; and constructing residential and community shelters in tornado-prone areas.
FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. The state or local match does not have to be cash; in-kind services or materials may be used. Federal funding under the HMGP is based on 7.5 percent of the Federal funds spent on the Public and Individual Assistance programs (minus administrative expenses) for each disaster. Eligible applicants must apply for the HMGP through the State Hazard Mitigation Officer (See the HMGP main page).
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program Funds [Read More]
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Funds provide both planning and project funding to eligible communities. Communities must complete an approved hazard mitigation plan by November 1, 2004, to remain eligible for PDM funds. PDM project funding is nationally competitive; there is no "base" amount guaranteed to each state. A national priority is placed on projects that address National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) repetitive loss properties and a benefit cost analysis is required for each proposed project. Projects are awarded priority based on the state's analysis and resulting ranking, and on factors such as cost-effectiveness, addressing critical facilities, and the percent of the population that benefits from the project. FEMA funds up to 75 percent of the cost of the project, or up to 90 percent for small, impoverished communities. There is a $3 million cap on the Federal share of the cost per project (See the PDM main page).
Securall FEMA Shelter Doors are constructed in accordance with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA 320) recommended design specifications. The design is based on extensive research of the causes and effects of windstorm damage to buildings and should provide a high degree of occupant protection during extreme windstorms (tornadoes and hurricanes). A Securall® FEMA Shelter Door is a critical element when designing a safe room for protection against severe storms. Strong tornadoes have resulted in loss of the floor framing, collapse of basement walls and death and injuries to individuals in the basement. By having a safe room in your home, you can protect your family and save the lives of those you care about. For more information on safe room designs and construction, please refer to Http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/saferoom/fema320.shtm.
FEMA Shelter Door Standard Features: 36" Wide x 80"H Door (Overall Dimensions, including Frame: 40"Wide x 82"H) .
StormSafe® Door Pressure & Debris Impact Test at Texas Tech: Pressure and Impact tests were conducted at Texas Tech University’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center. The test on FEMA 320/ICC-500, Model HD42x84-O-LH was consistent with the guidelines of FEMA 320/361 and ICC-500 (2008) Standard for “The Design and Construction of Storm Shelters” and the ICC-500 requirement that the pressure test load should include a safety factor of 1.2. This pressure relates to a 250 mph ground speed tornado and the door installed in Zones 4&5 per ASCE 7-05 for a corner zone with the negative pressures being greater than the positive pressures. The goal pressure is 2.19 psi which must be held for 10 seconds in accordance to ASTM E330. In accordance to FEMA 320, the residential shelter guideline, swinging door assemblies should resist a static pressure of 1.37-psi for a 5-second period. The tornado test criterion uses a 3 impacts of 15-lb. 2x4-in. wood board traveling horizontally at 100-mph, which corresponds to a 250-mph wind.
Test Results FEMA 320/ICC-500, Model HD42x84-O-LH door assembly passed 2.19 psi for 10 sec.(includes ICC-500,1.2 Safety Factor) & three impacts and is qualified to meet both the FEMA 320 and the ICC-500 standards of door pressures and impacts for doors in storm shelters.