Storm Shelters

Our Goal


The 2012-2013 tornado season was more devastating than usual, forcing storm shelter design for schools and residential areas to be revised. With that revision, ICC-500 has been implemented as a basic code to follow along with FEMA-P361 and/or FEMA-P320 to serve as a supplementary guideline.

Property Arts Inc. has over 75 years of safe room design knowledge for educational, commercial, professional, and residential applications. It is our goal to provide our client with the best possible design /solution to ensure the safety of staff and students during an emergency event.

To attest that our experienced architects are providing the best services possible they have undergone training in “Safe Schools 101” created by the Oklahoma Department of Energy Management and FEMA .

Existing Building Audit


We will help evaluate an existing building to assist in determining the safest places to put students during an emergency event.

This service is being added to the normal list of Architectural Services offered by Property Arts Inc.

Existing Building Audit Services Include:

  • School – specific reports to include safe refuge site assessment for school buildings.
  • Perform assessments of individual school buildings.

Design Standards


  • ICC 500 / NSSA 2008
    (International Code Council / National Storm Shelter Association)
  • FEMA-P361 (Commercial Application)
  • FEMA-P320 (Residential Application)
  • Design Wind Speeds:
    Oklahoma – 250mph.
  • Occupancy:
    Standing/seating – 5 sq. ft. per occupant.
    Wheelchair – 10 sq. ft. per occupant.
    Bedridden – 30 sq. ft. per occupant.
  • Sanitation Facilities:
    Toilets and hand washing facilities are required per code.
    (Count determined by occupant load).
  • Emergency Power system:
    Backup generator is required with an automatic transfer switch.
    Emergency lighting is also required.
  • Ventilation:
    Natural and/or mechanical ventilation is required.
  • Special Construction inspection:
    Third party construction inspections.

Types of Safe Room Structural Design


  • Reinforced CMU (concrete block) walls, steel bar joist and concrete roof decks.
  • Tilt up concrete walls with steel bar joist and concrete roof decks.
  • Monolithic dome-reinforced shot-crete walls and roof.
  • Poured in place concrete walls and roof deck.