Safe Rooms

Mitigation - Safe Room Guidance and Funding

Safe room construction is considered an eligible project under two of the five Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs. Those programs include the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDMP).

Safe rooms are designed to provide immediate life-safety protection for people in public and private structures from tornado and severe wind events, including hurricanes. For HMA, the term safe room only applies to extreme wind (combined tornado and hurricane) residential, non-residential, and community safe rooms; tornado community safe rooms; and hurricane community safe rooms. This type of project includes retrofits of existing facilities or new safe room construction projects, and applies to both single and multi-use facilities.

Getting Started

If you are looking for assistance to build a safe room under one of the previously mentioned federal grant programs, and do not know about the Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) process in Florida, please contact your countys LMS Working Group. They will be able to advise you on the application process as well as available funding. You can find your countys contact information at the link below.

Guidance and Policies for Building a Safe Room Under HMA

For PDMP and HMGP safe room projects, applicants and subapplicants must comply with FEMA Mitigation Interim Policy MRR-2-09-1, Hazard Mitigation Assistance for Safe Rooms (see below). This policy establishes the eligibility parameters for PDMP and HMGP safe room projects including: eligible activities, design standards, flood hazard siting limitations, population protected, period of protection, eligible costs, operation plan, maintenance plan, and cost effectiveness.

PDMP and HMGP funds may only be used for safe room projects designed to achieve near absolute protection as described in FEMA 320, Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business, and FEMA 361, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms (see below). Any lower threshold of protection exposes safe room occupants to a greater degree of risk than is acceptable.

PDMP and HMGP funds are not available for general population shelters, including evacuation or recovery shelters intended to provide longer-term services and housing for people leaving the anticipated impact area of an extreme wind event, or because their homes have been damages or destroyed by extreme wind events, fire, disaster or other catastrophes. The hazard mitigation time of protection for safe rooms is 2 hours for tornado events and 24 hours for hurricane events.

Policy Updates

As of February 23, 2012, PDMP and HMGP mitigation project sub-applications for Individual Safe Room projects sited within a Special Flood Hazard Area are eligible only if the jurisdiction in which the project is located is participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, sub-grade safe rooms excluded.

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