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Assessing Your Risk
Information from FEMA Publication 320
Per FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, having a shelter, or a safe room, built into your house can help you protect yourself and your family from injury and death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds. It can also relieve some of the anxiety created by the threat of an oncoming tornado or hurricane.

 Tornado Activity in the U.S.

Click on the image on the left to view a larger image. The darker the shade of color, the higher the annual tornado risk.

  Wind Zones in the U.S.

Click on the image on the right to view a larger image. The darker the shade of color, the higher the risk from wind damage annually.

 risktable.gif Click on the image on the left to view a larger image. The table cross references tornado activity with wind zones to determine your risk from tornado and if you should have a shelter.
 By the way.... all of Texas is a High Risk Area

Keep Your Family Safe: Build a Tornado 'Safe Room' in Your Home

Washington, May 12, 1999 -- James Lee Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is urging residents of tornado-prone areas to build a "safe room" in their homes that can provide protection against deadly tornadoes. Safe rooms also can provide protection against hurricanes and other extreme wind hazards.

"The deaths and devastation caused by the tornadoes that hit Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas just last week are heartbreaking. While we can't stop tornadoes, we can build secure, easily accessible rooms in homes that can keep families safe from harm." -- James Lee Witt

Witt noted that a safe room built in a home in Del City, Okla., last week saved the lives of homeowner Norma Bartlett, her daughter and four pets. Their neighborhood was completely destroyed and a nearby neighbor was killed during the storm. Construction costs can vary from one geographic area to another. Safe rooms can be built above ground or below, within a home or attached to one. Some are built of reinforced concrete and some are build with wood-and-steel walls anchored to concrete slab foundations or floors.

The Bartlett's safe room was built to design standards developed and published in a 25-page, illustrated FEMA publication, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House, which outlines the basics of in-house safe room shelter design, including construction plans, materials and construction cost estimates. Safe rooms built to these specifications are designed to provide protect-ion from the forces of extreme winds as high as 250 miles-per-hour and the impact of flying debris. FEMA developed Taking Shelter from the Storm in collaboration with the Wind Engineering Research Center of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The safe room designs draw on 25 years of field research, including studies of the performance of buildings following dozens of tornadoes throughout the United States and laboratory testing on the performance of building materials and systems when impacted by airborne debris.

The safe room project is part of an ongoing FEMA initiative called Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities designed to encourage people and communities to take measures to protect themselves and their property before disasters occur.

Web site: www.shelters-of-texas.com