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January 21, 2023
ICF Safe Rooms Offer Shelter From Natural Disasters

Don’t wait until a natural disaster strikes your town to take action to reinforce your home. There are precautionary steps you can begin now to ensure the utmost protection of your residential structure and your family in the event of severe weather. Most homeowners are worried about their home’s ability to cope with the damage caused by severe storms, hurricanes, and tornados. Life safety is top priority, of course, closely followed by the financial costs associated with building destruction and property loss.

Especially in areas of the world susceptible to these weather occurrences, Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are a building material solution that address all of these disaster-related concerns.

Martin Clark, of Nudura, recommends you “opt for the strongest impact-resilient house available, or at the very least, a safe room within your home built using ICF.” ICFs offer a durable, resilient construction option to protect a physical structure and the people inside it from harm.

Safe Rooms and Shelters

A safe room is essentially a storm shelter, a hardened room or structure specifically designed to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criteria to “provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Near-absolute protection means that the occupants of a safe room built in accordance with FEMA guidance will have a very high probability of being protected from injury or death.

Safe rooms can be constructed within a home or outside the residence, in-ground, above-ground or in a basement. If being built outside the property, the safe room should be placed either immediately adjacent or as a detached structure within 150 feet for quick access in an emergency, per FEMA’s Residential Safe Rooms Fact Sheet. During non-emergent times, safe rooms can operate as any other room or simply serve as a storage space.

Safe Room Construction with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)

Insulated Concrete Forms offer superior durability and impact resistance compared to traditional wood-frame construction methods. Nudura ICFs can be used to build your entire house or to add a safe room to any existing home. Safe rooms are created by building a room with ICF walls, pouring a “concrete lid” on top, and installing a steel door. Walls built using Nudura ICF have been proven to withstand winds up to 250 mph (402 kph) and protect against flying debris as demonstrated in an impact test conducted by ABC Domes and Wind Science & Engineering Research Center Debris Impact Test Facility at Texas Tech University.

A safe room can be built to FEMA guidelines using Nudura ICFs and design plans provided in FEMA’s “Taking Shelter From the Storm – Building or Installing a Safe Room for Your Home”.

Why Do You Need A Safe Room?

Most homes are constructed to minimum building code requirements which do not always take into consideration the risks of extreme weather. If you cannot build your home from scratch with disaster-resiliency in mind, a safe room or storm shelter can be constructed now to proactively address any imminent threats.

For regions prone to hurricanes and tornadoes, ICF safe rooms (and entire ICF buildings) are the best way to protect you and your family from the dangers of high winds and flying debris. ICFs mitigate structural damage and property loss typically associated with natural disasters while safeguarding loved-ones inside.

Watch this video to see how ICFs protected this home during Hurricane Michael.


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