School Safe Rooms Oklahoma

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Available Area of Refuge?

Best Available Refuge Area: Evaluated by a design professional and identified as least vulnerable area/room in building. This area is designed to minimum building code requirements.

What is a Hardened Area or Room?

Hardened Area or Room: Designed to consider wind speeds or wind-borne debris impacts at some level between code and ICC 500 or FEMA Criteria. Designed to meet minimum building code requirements.

What is a Safe Room?

Safe Room: A safe room is a hardened structure specifically designed to meet FEMA criteria and provide "near-absolute protection" in extreme weather events.

What is a Storm Shelter?

Storm Shelter: A space that has been designed and constructed to comply with ICC500 and provides "life-safety protection" from wind events.

What is a Tornado Refuge Area?

Tornado Refuge Area: Designed to minimum building code requirements.

What is Near Absolute Protection?

Near-Absolute Protection: Near-absolute protection means that, based on our current knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes, the occupants of a safe room built according to FEMA Guidelines will have a very high probability of being protected from injury or death. (FEMA 361, Chapter 1, Page 1-2)

What are the different Levels of Protection?

Different Levels of Protection: The different levels of protection listed above provide just that, different levels of protection. Think of it as a good, better and best classification.

o Good: “Best Available Area of Refuge”
o Better: “Hardened Area”
o Best: “Safe Room/Storm Shelter”

What are As-Built Plans?

As-Built Plans: Also known as “existing building plans”, “blue prints”, “construction documents”, etc.

What is FEMA 320?

FEMA 320: FEMA Guidelines for “Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business”.

What is FEMA 361?

FEMA 361: FEMA Guidelines for “Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms”.

What is FEMA 431?

FEMA 431: FEMA Guidelines for “Tornado Protection: Selecting Refuge Area in Buildings”. This booklet presents information that will aid qualified architects and engineers in the identification of the best available refuge areas in existing buildings.

What is ICC 500?

ICC 500: International Code Council Guidelines for the “Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters”.

What is the Fujita Scale?

Fujita Scale: is a scale for rating tornado intensity, based primarily on the damage tornadoes inflict on human-built structures and vegetation. The official Fujita scale category is determined by meteorologists and engineers after a ground or aerial damage survey, or both; and depending on the circumstances, ground-swirl patterns radar tracking, eyewitness testimonies, media reports and damage imagery. The F-Scale was replaced with the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale) in the United States in February 2007.


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