Safe Room Doors

Safe room doors are designed specifically for life safety to automatically shut and secure in accordance with ICC 500 and FEMA 361 during a tornado or high wind and debris event.

An increased need for Storm Safe Rooms

Our StormDefender safe room doors are engineered to International Code Council (ICC)-500 and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 361 standards. However, they are designed to work with existing architecture to be out of sight until needed. 

Safe room doors have advanced in recent years. Extreme weather patterns have increased the need and awareness to create a safe space to withstand the forces of a tornado, high winds or flying debris. Warmer climates have resulted in more tornado outbreaks to include large-scale events that last up to three days and produce six or more tornadoes in rapid succession. Damages from tornado events have reached all-time highs, but more importantly, protection of life is paramount.

In May of 2013, a massive EF5 tornado struck Plaza Towers Elementary School in Oklahoma City resulting in seven student deaths. The shock of what happened in Oklahoma spurred legislation, school activism and a huge increase in safe room design and implementation in the architectural design community.

Safe Room Design requirements

The International Building Code (IBC) and IEBC (International Existing Building Code) require storm safe rooms in all K-12 school buildings with at least 50 occupants. These safe rooms are specified by ICC-500 to protect all occupants of the building from flying debris and dangerous winds that tornadoes and hurricanes cause including the safe room doors. Both the IBC along with the IRC (International Residential Code) site the ICC-500 as the governing standard when it comes to storm safe room design and construction.

The intention of ICC-500 is to maintain structural integrity from winds over 250 mph and protect from deadly flying debris those winds can cause. This includes walls that resist horizontal forces as well as resisting any vertical lift. Tornado safe room design should allow the roof to transfer wind load and forces to the walls and ultimately to the foundation or ground. Because of this, many early tornado room designs eliminated windows and openings as much as possible, making them claustrophobic and dungeon like. Great for protection, but not as functional for other uses.

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