Is it Possible to Protect Homes from Damaging Tornados?

While architects are continuing to make strides in designing large commercial buildings that can provide more protection from natural disasters, the powerful EF4 and EF5 strength tornados that have occurred through parts of Alabama, Missouri, and Oklahoma over the last few years have demonstrated that single family, wood-framed homes offer little protection. Not one of those styles of homes that were in the direct path of the forceful storms survived. Moreover a recent report from Lloyd’s of London regarding the increasing risk of tornados finds that statistically the U.S. has more tornadoes than anywhere else in the world.

Since many of the wood-frame structures destroyed by tornados were built with the most commonly used minimum standards of the International Residential Code, some people think the standards should be raised. Though many experts that study the destruction of tornados think it is undesirable to try and build a fully tornado-proof home. In order to be effective, it would have to be a windowless concrete bunker.

There are some methods that can make your home more resistant to the damage from strong winds and flying debris that occurs during tornados. A structural engineer from Simpson Strong-Tie, which makes high-strength metal connectors, suggested in an article from MSN that to resist strong winds, “Homes must be built with what is called a ‘continuous load path.” The goal would be to create a “series of reinforced connections that tie every element together from roof to foundation, like a chain.”

While this could be helpful in preventing some of the damage that might occur during a tornado, FEMA recommends that you do not try and tornado-proof your whole house. Their suggestion is for those in highly prone areas to build a “safe room”. These rooms can be a retrofitted closet or bathroom or a newly built space in your home and should effectively protect your family against the strongest wind forces. A safe room does not need to be very large as tornados are over quickly. They are typically built using reinforced concrete and compared to other ideas are a relatively inexpensive solution for a homeowner.

Conco is one of the leading commercial concrete contractors in Sacramento and has been delivering first-rate services in the area since 1959. We are experts at creating cost-effective solutions that take advantage of the most up-to-date techniques. Our concrete services include commercial, educational, parking and other construction development as well as public works projects and highways.

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