How "Safe" Are Safe Rooms?
Safe rooms are popular additions to new houses being constructed in areas where tornadoes are a threat. They serve as protection against intruders as well as the forces of nature. Original plans for safe rooms were developed in partnership with the Wind Engineering Research Center of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX.
The safe room is built inside, but separate from, the main house. It is anchored to the house foundation, and the connections between all parts of the shelter are strong enough to remain standing and intact, even if the rest of the house is destroyed. The walls and ceilings are extra thick and strong to resist being penetrated by flying objects.
Tests showed that a 2” x 4” wood stud weighing 15 pounds, launched at 100 mph, could pierce an un-reinforced masonry wall. Properly built, safe rooms can provide protection against winds of up to 250 mph and against flying objects traveling as fast as 100 mph.