Tornadoes cause a lot of problems every year. They cause a lot of structural damage and also take lives. With your home being one of if not the largest single investment you make it’s important to help protect it from damage. Find out what you can do in this article. We hope it will help you protect your assets.
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From the article:
As with so many “is it possible” type questions, the answer of whether you can have a tornado-proof house is a resounding “well, yes, but.” In this case, that sentence goes: “Well, yes, but it would be prohibitively expensive and ugly, and nobody really recommends you even bother.”
What is tornado-proofing? According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for a structure to be “tornado-proof” it must be, literally, missile-proof. The most damaging and unpredictable destructive force of a tornado isn’t the swirling winds, it’s the debris that the tornado picks up and hurls around, often at speeds in excess of 200mph. “Missile” is the right word when you’re talking about a refrigerator flying through the air at 200mph.
The weak points in your house are windows and doors, obviously, but the most dangerous entry point may come as a surprise: it’s your garage door. Garage doors aren’t usually very sturdy, and if they blow down, the rush of wind can cause your house to become pressurized, like a can of soda. In extreme cases, wind can explode into the main house and blow down walls or even the ceiling. The other possible danger is in traditional insulation: air at this speed can cause serious damage, and if air can get between your walls at tornado-level speeds, they don’t stand much of a chance.
So what should you do FEMA does not recommend attempting to tornado-proof your home. Instead, it recommends a safe room: an internal room, like a bathroom or office or large closet, which can be modified to meet the International Code Council (ICC)-500 standard. ICC-500 is the product of a joint, decades-long effort by FEMA and Texas Tech University’s Wind Science and Engineering department, known as WISE, to figure out exactly how best to protect a home from out-of-control winds.
You can view the complete document here, but in short, it requires that this room be fortified to withstand a 5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, typically referred to as EF-5 level winds. EF-5 level winds are in excess of 200mph, so the FEMA code stipulates that the room must be reinforced, typically with concrete but sometimes with steel or even a combination of steel and wood.
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Read the entire article here: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-05/can-you-tornado-proof-home