Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Safe rooms can provide shelter, storage

Your family room, with its wall of sliding glass doors, may be the most dangerous space in the house in which to ride out a hurricane.

What's a better idea? One answer: a safe room.

These reinforced, bolted-down structures often do double duty the rest of the year as a closet, wine cellar, storage room or pantry. They can provide secure storage of valuables or weapons whether you're at home or gone on vacation. Come hurricane time, they shelter the occupants and resist extreme winds and flying debris.

The showcase home in this spring's Tampa Bay Builders Association Parade of Homes at FishHawk Ranch in Lithia — the Cellini model by Homes by John C. Fowke — included a safe room as a closet. Other builders offer them as well.

"We've had a lot more interest in them because of tornadoes in the last two years because we haven't had any hurricanes," said Eddie Sutton, manager of Tampa SafeRooms in Seminole (www. tampasaferooms.com). The swath of tornadoes that cut through Central Florida near the Villages last year prompted some of that interest, he said.

The rooms range in size from 4 by 4 by 8 feet to 12 by 12 by 10 feet and can be installed in a day to a day and a half in new construction or as a retrofit of an existing home, said Sutton, who represents two brands: Remagen (www.remagensaferooms.com) and StormBlocker (www.stormblocker.com).

Those brands range in price from $5,000 to $15,000, Sutton said.

The Remagen brand is framed in steel with steel panels. The StormBlocker has hurricane-reinforced wood framing and composite wall panels with a woven-fiberglass surface over a proprietary core.

Another manufacturer is DuPont, under the StormRoom name (www.stormroom.dupont.com). Reinforced wall panels, attached with structural steel connectors, are lined with Kevlar sheathing, the material used in bullet-proof vests that DuPont says is five times stronger than steel. Their price range is $6,500 to $14,000. That's the brand in the showcase home at FishHawk Ranch.

The rooms are ventilated, and plumbing and electricity can be added. The interior walls can be finished with drywall, paint, paneling, whatever the homeowner wants.

Above-ground storm shelters must meet federal codes. Structures must withstand 250 mph winds and must resist a 15-pound 2 by 4 shot at the shelter at 100 mph.

"In the last 12 months we've gotten to the point where people really understand what they are and what they're for," Sutton said.

Safe rooms are considered a "green" building feature in the category of disaster mitigation. Along with window protection and garage door reinforcement, safe rooms can earn builders points toward certification by the Florida Green Building Coalition.

Safe rooms can provide shelter, storage 05/16/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 16, 2008 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Human Interest

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]
  2. Florida inspired new group focused on improving how elections are run

    Blogs

    A new group run by two lawyers and veteran Democratic operatives specializing in voter protection efforts is launching a pilot program in Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to work with local elections officials to improve the voting process. Access Democracy, run by …

    Access Democracy wants to improve voter participation and how elections are run
  3. Super Nintendo is coming back to stores, and there's even a new (old) game

    Blogs

    If the overwhelming success of last year's NES Classic is any indication, you may want to get your hands on Nintendo's newly-announced Super NES Classic as soon as it becomes available this fall.

    Super Nintendo plans to release the Super NES Classic Edition.
  4. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame

    Blogs

    For Dave Andreychuk, the wait is finally over.

    Dave Andreychuk helped lead the Lightning to its only Stanley Cup in 2004.
  5. UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers

    Blogs

    Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.