We frequently receive inquiries about adding electricity and HVAC to safe rooms and storm shelters. We understand that homeowners want to make their home a safe place, and part of that often comes with ensuring there is a ventilation in a safe room so it doesn’t get too hot and access to electricity so they can see.
Running Power & Air To Storm Shelters
Our emergency safe rooms and storm shelters can definitely be fabricated to provide heat and air along with electricity, especially for commercial applications, community shelters, or when a safe room is installed during new construction. Many new construction customers will place a safe room in their home during the build (before framing) and use that shelter as a closet or pantry while “not in use.” In these instances, it is common practice to fabricate HVAC and electrical access into the shelter’s walls and/or ceiling so the interior of the safe room can be finished. It will look just like the interior of a master closet, pantry, or whatever space it is utilized for during construction.
On the other hand, there is usually little to no need in incorporating power or heat/air into your unfinished storm shelter because it will not be normally used on a daily basis. When used in a garage or carport, the only time you will be accessing the shelter would be in times of need or danger. Furthermore, research shows that the average stay in a storm shelter is only about 5 minutes and power is typically the very first thing to go out in dangerous storms. With that said, this is why the storm shelter world relies heavily on battery power. Reliable battery power will keep your fan, light, or radio operational long after the power is out.
Other Things To Consider
Your storm shelter needs to account for the number of occupants. According to FEMA, 5 square feet of floor area per person will be big enough in your storm shelter (note that wheelchair and bedridden occupants will require more space). This allocation of space per occupant also meets the minimum sizing requirements set forth in the ICC-500 for residential and small community tornado shelters. Our shelters meet these requirements, ensuring reliable fabrication you and your loved ones can depend upon in the event of severe weather.
While we do not condone watching the funnel cloud approach, we know that most people will! Running your shelter at the last minute is not something we want you to do. In fact, we recommend practicing getting in and out so that it’s second nature to do so, especially with little ones and pets. We want you to heed the severe weather warnings and go to your shelter in plenty of time. Running to the shelter at the last minute is just not a good practice.