WIT Press

Hurricane Wind Shelter Retrofit Room Standards For Existing Houses


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N. Yazdani, T. Townsend & D. KilCollins


The objective of this study was to develop a design and construction technique for an in-home Retrofit Room hurricane shelter, which is an alternative to the FEMA tornado Safe Room. Such a room will be able to withstand hurricane wind speeds up to 225 km/h (140 mph) and windborne debris. This study developed design and construction techniques for a more economic Retrofit Room. The retrofitting is achieved through reinforcing existing walls and roofs of typical small interior rooms with plywood sheets, steel plate anchor bolts and hurricane straps. The in-house shelter will offer significant occupant protection and reduce the demand on public shelters in the event of a Category 4 hurricane or an F2 level tornado. The average material and labor cost of a hurricane Retrofit Room is about $3,100, almost half of the typical cost for a FEMA Safe Room. Keywords: Retrofit Room, in-home shelter, hurricane winds, windborne debris, evacuation. 1 Introduction The state of Florida and other storm-prone states have experienced a considerable impact from storm damage due to the hazardous effects of high winds and flooding from severe tropical storms and hurricanes. In recent years, residents have suffered tremendous property damage and even loss of life due to extreme storm hazards. Most residential houses are constructed in accordance with local or national building codes that may not take into account the effects of extreme winds and windborne debris associated with hurricanes. Hurricanes such as Andrew and Opal have illustrated the susceptibility of Florida structures to these damaging storm effects. The growing concern for the state’s vulnerability


Retrofit Room, in-home shelter, hurricane winds, windborne debris, evacuation.