Emergency Shelter Design

IONCON has previously developed designs and is familiar with design criteria to comply with high wind and impact standards applicable to tornadoes and hurricane prone areas. These designs go over and above typical code requirements and structural loading calculations by a significant amount with the intention of protecting occupants from 200+mph winds and flying debris/missles. A ‘Large Missle’ is typically defined as a 15lb 2×4 board making a impact on the building at 100mph, however even higher impact loads may also be used if desired. Above ground and below ground emergency shelters and safe rooms with various levels of air filtration, biological and radiation resistance, food and energy storage etc are available.


While a home located in a hurricane prone area may be designed from the beginning with some of these criteria in mind, those with a existing homes may find it more reasonable to retrofit a smaller ‘safe-room’ or ‘storm-shelter’. IONCON is familiar with these smaller designs along with other traditional cellar, wine cellar, emergency bunker, safe room, and bomb-shelter type designs.

High wind standards and codes referenced:

  • International Code Council/National Storm Shelter Association (ICC/NSSA) High Wind Shelter Standard (ICC-500)

  • FEMA 320 / FEMA 361

  • Florida State Emergency Shelter Program (SESP) Criteria

  • IBC/IRC 2006, ASCE 7-05, Florida Building Code, ASTM E 1886 / E 1996

Underground Concrete Emergency Shelter Design


FEMA Website: http://www.fema.gov/safe-rooms

“A safe room is a hardened structure specifically designed to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criteria and provide “near-absolute protection” in extreme weather events, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Near-absolute protection means that, based on our current knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes, 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. To be considered a FEMA safe room, the structure must be designed and constructed to the guidelines specified in FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business (FEMA, third edition, 2008a) (for home and small business safe rooms) and FEMA P-361, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms (FEMA, second edition, 2008b).