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Are Safe Rooms Really Safe from Tornadoes? Panic Rooms? Storm Cellars?

By USA Safe & Vault September 03, 2021



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Just as safes protect valuables from theft and fire, safe rooms, storm cellars and tornado safe rooms protect your loved ones from severe weather. When I decided to install a safe room to protect the family, I had my doubts about whether a tornado room is safe and effective. 

Many in the United States, especially those in “tornado alley” (Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska), set up safe rooms because they think that this is the best way to seek shelter from tornadoes. It left me wondering if safe rooms, panic rooms, tornado shelters, and tornado cellars were all the same thing!

A tornado is the deadliest of storms, one that can wipe out a whole town in minutes. And yet there are some people who refuse to leave their homes when a tornado is approaching. Why? Maybe because they have a safe room built into their house or maybe just because it feels safer inside than outside with all those flying objects whirling around. But how safe is your home during this dangerous storm?

How safe are tornado rooms?

Before you decide to build a tornado room, determine the safety of the tornado room based on FEMA ratings. Sometimes tornado rooms are not safe enough to offer protection from tornadoes and they might be built without the FEMA guidelines in mind.

So, how safe are tornado rooms? Tornado rooms are safe and effective, but it also depends on what tornado intensity the safe room withstands. While how powerful a tornado can be is unknown, if the tornado room is built based on the FEMA guidelines, there is the confidence that for the location of the safe room, it is highly likely the tornado room will be adequate. 

The tornado ratings are various ratings are given below with the range of wind speeds that a home and safe room needs to withstand.

Before you build a tornado room, you should know what kind of tornado room or tornado shelter you will be building.

What are the types of tornado rooms?

types of tornado rooms

What do you imagine when you want to build a tornado room? You may be thinking of building a tornado room in the house. This is not impossible because you can build a tornado room indoors or outdoors. In fact, there are three types of tornado rooms that you can build, such as:

  • Underground Tornado Room

Underground tornado rooms are built underground in order to protect you from the harsh wind flying debris from tornadoes. This type of tornado room should be made with steel or steel or other reinforced materials.

  • Pre-Built Tornado Room

This is a tornado room special that looks like a reinforced box where you can put it inside your house. Usually, it is made from steel and can fit 2 up to 4 persons.

  • In-Home Tornado Rooms

Basically, it is similar to the prebuilt tornado room where you can build a tornado room inside your house and has compact sizes like storage or a closet made from steel with a special door.

How to choose the right tornado room?

So, which one do you have to choose between an underground tornado room, pre-built tornado room, and in-home tornado room? Well, you can choose one of the three types of tornado rooms. The underground tornado room may be safer, but it is difficult to build. So, the best choice is the in-home tornado room or pre-built tornado room you can put inside your house. A storm cannot destroy a tornado room because it is very strong. So, if you do not have one, then you can think about it now and immediately get your tornado room before it occurs.

Will FEMA pay for ground storm shelters?

For people who live in areas that are likely to have storms, FEMA(Federal Emergency Management Agency) may give money to help pay for a ground safe room installation, underground shelters, or a ground storm shelter. They may do this through their Hazard Mitigation grant. For those who qualify, they can apply for up to 75% of the cost of a shelter or $4,000.

Where is the best place to put storm shelters?

We are currently experiencing a stormy season in the United States. Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, and Irma wreaked havoc on Florida. With more storms on the horizon, it is important to know where you should go for shelter if a storm comes your way. 

The best place to put storm shelters is ahead of time. Knowing what areas might be affected by hurricanes can help you prepare for them. Safe room VS. Storm Shelter - Find out which one is right for you

Do safe rooms work?

There is some data to show that safe rooms do work, but it is not a perfect solution. It needs to be a robust room made of solid material. The room should have no windows or other access points for people who may try to force entry. There needs to be ventilation and sanitation in the room. It also helps if there are shelves and storage for supplies, as well as emergency lighting. Finally, it can't hurt that the room is well-stocked with food and water.

What is the difference between a safe room and storm shelters?

Safe rooms are intended to provide near absolute protection to occupants from both man-made and natural disasters including tornadoes and terrorist attacks. These hardened structure specifically designed to keep out firearms fire, forced entry, bomb blasts and extreme weather events. 

A tornado shelter is a safe place to go when you are in an area that could be affected by tornadoes. Tornadoes have the potential to cause devastating damage and can take many lives if people do not act quickly enough. There are some things that you should know about tornado shelters, there are different types of shelters such as underground storm cellars or above ground buildings with a basement. You will need to decide which type of shelter would work best for your home and family's needs. 

How much does a tornado safe room cost?

The cost for installing this type of tornado shelter varies depending on what type of house it will be installed in and how big the house is, but generally speaking, a safe room costs between $5,000 and $10,000.

How do you make a tornado safe room?

A safe room is a place to go when a tornado strikes your home. You can have safe rooms installed for about $4,500 or you can hire a contractor to build one. A new CDC study shows that a safe room could save both lives and money since protecting yourself in the right shelter could prevent injury from flying debris and other forces of nature.


How safe is a tornado room? Well, it is very safe and effective for tornado protection despite it depends on the tornado. During a tornado, you can enter the safe room shelters. Many people in the US have tornado rooms based on FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) ratings. So, you should not doubt it at all because it is much safer than just staying in your basement during the tornado.

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