A "wind safe” room is a reinforced area of a home designed to withstand severe windstorms. While basements offer some protection from damaging winds, the level of protection can be increased greatly by building a reinforced shelter area in a basement, or constructing a shelter in an above-ground room such as an interior closet or a small study room.
An effective “wind safe” room must be strong enough to survive extreme wind speeds and the impact of airborne debris, sufficiently affordable to appeal to homeowners, and accessible quickly in the event a severe storm approaches. “Wind safe” rooms are easiest to install when a home is being built; however, they can also be added to many existing homes. A variety of options exists for homes with basements, homes built on a "slab-on-grade" foundation, and homes with a "crawlspace" foundation. Typical costs range from $2,000 for a simple "lean-to" shelter in a new-home basement, to $6,000 or more for an above-ground, steel-sheathing shelter.
Get more information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about building a “wind safe” room. Also for more information, check out the Institute for Business and Home Safety at www.ibhs.org.
Detailed construction plans and information related to safe rooms can be found at http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/saferoom/.