Safe-Room Construction

Depicted in the film The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy’s family runs into the cellar to escape the coming storm, the idea of a safe room has come a long way. Today, safe rooms provide a place where homeowners and their families can find sanctuary in the event of catastrophic weather, fire or criminal invasion.

Walls for safe rooms can be constructed of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), which are expanded polystyrene forms that remain in place on both interior and exterior wall surfaces to provide insulation after concrete is poured between them. To provide improved fire resistance, the thickness of the concrete can be increased.

Doors used in safe-room construction can be penetration-resistant shells with expanded polystyrene cores to provide an appropriate fire rating. The opening mechanism and locks/latches also can be chosen for tornado or blast resistance. So, occupants can exit the room once the threat is over, swing-hinge doors typically open inward, so that debris will not prevent the door from opening and hamper escape.