American Society of Civil Engineers

The New FEMA 320 and FEMA 361—Highlights of the Wind and Flood Hazards Criteria for the Design and Construction of Residential and Community Safe Rooms (Shelters)

by John Ingargiola, (CFM — FEMA, Mitigation Directorate, Building Science Branch, 500 C Street, SW, Washington, DC 20007 E-mail: and Scott Tezak, P.E., (BSCP — URS Corporation, Infrastructure Protection & Risk Assessment Team, 260 Franklin Street, Suite 300, Boston, MA E-mail:
Section: Residential, pp. 163-174, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Forensic Engineering 2009: Pathology of the Built Environment
Abstract: In August 2008, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the Third Edition of FEMA 320, Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business, and the Second Edition of FEMA 361, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms. First released in 1998, FEMA 320 is the benchmark publication that provides prescriptive designs to be used in the design and construction of residential safe rooms (shelters) to protect occupants from hurricanes and tornadoes. Originally released in July 2000, FEMA 361 provides technical guidance for design and construction of community safe rooms to protect larger groups of occupants from hurricanes and tornadoes. These FEMA documents were the basis for the development of the new ICC/NSSA Standard on the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters (ICC-500) released in August 2008. This paper presents the criteria and levels of protection from the FEMA documents and compares them to new ICC-500.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Wind loads
Structural design