Tornado Safe Rooms & Refuge Areas

May 2012, Principal Architect Brad Erwin participated in a FEMA workshop focusing on Evaluating Buildings to Identify Best-Available Refuge Areas for severe weather when FEMA 361 designed tornado safe rooms are not available. The course provided a background on safe room design & construction issues and reviews the use of the Extreme-Wind Refuge Area Evaluation Checklist and review of FEMA 361. Case studies were conducted on an existing facility.

The staff at Paragon Architecture also attended a separate course focused on Design and Construction Guidance for Community Tornado Shelters conducted by FEMA. The course discusses revisions to background and hazard identification, revisions to design and construction guidance criteria (specific to tornado, hurricane, and combined hazards), and revisions made to align FEMA 361, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms with the minimum requirements of the ICC 500 ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters. FEMA 361 is the basis of the technical design criteria used for FEMA grant programs that fund the design and construction of hurricane and tornado safe rooms.