Don’t Wait for the Storm: Build a Safe Room Now

Climate change is a reality, and its effects on weather patterns are becoming increasingly apparent. Scientists warn that severe storms, including tornadoes, hurricanes, and intense thunderstorms, are likely to become more frequent and destructive. Waiting to prepare your home and family for these events is a dangerous gamble.

Hurricane Ian First Responders marking.

The time to build a safe room, locate public shelters, or create an emergency plan isn’t when the storm warning sirens are blaring. Proactive preparation reduces the risk of injury or property loss should disaster strike. Investing in a secure shelter provides not only physical safety but also peace of mind knowing you’ve taken action to protect your loved ones.

Don’t underestimate the potential impact of severe weather. The consequences of inaction can be devastating. By getting prepared now, you’re giving yourself and your family the best chance of weathering any storm that comes your way.

Upgrade Your Home for Storm Safety: Safe Rooms, Shelters, and Basements

If you’re considering adding a safe room or storm shelter to your home, you have several options to explore. Here’s a breakdown of possibilities, along with cost estimates and considerations for DIY vs. professional construction:

Interior Safe Rooms

These are built inside existing structures, often converting closets, bathrooms, or pantries. Steel reinforcement or concrete block construction enhances the room’s strength. Interior safe rooms can be more affordable than other options, with costs typically ranging from $3,000 to $8,000. DIY installation is possible for those with significant construction experience but hiring a professional specializing in safe rooms is highly recommended.

Above-Ground Storm Shelters

Pictured: An above-ground residential safe room in the garage of a home hit by an EF5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri. This #saferoom was built with FEMA guidance in mind.

These prefabricated units can be installed in garages, basements, or even outdoors. Made of steel or concrete, they offer excellent protection. Expect costs between $5,000 and $15,000 or more, depending on size and materials. While some DIY kits are available, professional installation is usually the best choice to ensure structural integrity and adherence to safety codes.

Underground Storm Shelters

Often situated in a backyard or garage, these are the most secure, but also among the costliest options. Concrete or steel shelters require excavation and installation. Costs range from $4,000 to $20,000+, depending on size, materials, and the complexity of installation. This type of project almost always necessitates professional construction.

Building a Basement

If your home doesn’t have a basement, adding one can provide versatile storage and living space, plus storm protection. However, this is a major construction project with costs easily exceeding $50,000. Basement construction requires professional contractors for excavation, foundation pouring, and ensuring proper waterproofing.

Don’t forget about Guns and Possible Flying Weapons

The best place to store guns and ammo during a tornado or hurricane evacuation is in a sturdy safe bolted to the floor in an interior room away from exterior walls and windows. This provides protection from theft, prevents the safe from becoming a dangerous projectile, and minimizes the risk of damage from debris. Ensure your firearms are unloaded and store ammunition separately within the safe. Remember, safety is paramount – always follow safe handling practices and consider notifying authorities if you’re unable to evacuate your firearms.

Important Considerations:

  • FEMA and NSSA Standards: Always select shelters or safe room designs that meet or exceed standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA).
  • Permits and Codes: Check local building requirements for permits and inspections.
  • Accessibility: Ensure your chosen shelter option is accessible to anyone with mobility limitations.

Choosing between a safe room or storm shelter involves balancing budget, space constraints, and desired protection level. Thorough research and consultation with qualified contractors are essential for a safe and successful project. Not only will you keep your family more safe with one of these added to your home but you can possibly reduce your insurance costs and earn tax credits.

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