Study Says Tornado Safe Room Adds Value to Your Home

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Federal Alliance for Safe Homes says rate of investment return on a safe room is greater than that of most any other home improvement project

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“This finding is significant in that it means that anyone who installs a tornado safe room in their home is able to recoup almost all of their investment when they sell,” says Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO of FLASH.

There are a number of things homeowners can do to add value to their homes like updating their kitchens and installing good quality windows. But few provide the return on investment that homeowners receive by installing a tornado safe room, according to a new study by Dr. Kevin Simmons, Professor of Economics at Austin College, a Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® partner.

As preeminent tornado scientists gather this week in Norman, OK for the 2012 Severe Weather Workshop, Dr. Simmons, who studies natural disaster mitigation, says he found that as a mitigation device, tornado safe rooms rank high with consumers -- increasing the sale price of a home by 3.5 percent or an average of $4,200.

Dr. Simmons’ study was conducted in central Oklahoma, located in the heart of “Tornado Alley” where disproportionately high frequencies of tornadoes occur.

“This finding is significant in that it means that anyone who installs a tornado safe room in their home is able to recoup almost all of their investment when they sell,” says Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO of FLASH.

According to Chapman-Henderson, the average cost to build a safe room is $4,000 to $5000 depending on its size and built-in amenities. “A $5,000 tornado safe room will provide an 84 percent return on investment,” she says.

The only home improvement that yields a higher recoup value is replacing a front-entry door with a steel door,” says Chapman-Henderson, “for which you’ll recoup 98 percent of your investment.”

Homeowners seeking information about building a safe room in their homes should visit http://www.highwindsaferooms.org. There, they’ll find the FLASH program, Give an Ordinary Room an Extraordinary Purpose, with instructions for building or retrofitting bathrooms, closets, wine cellars or other rooms with a tornado safe room. They’ll also find a cost calculator, animation and links to important safety and structural details.

According to FLASH, tornado safe rooms built using the International Code Council/National Storm Shelter Association 500 standard or FEMA 320/361 guidance can provide the ultimate life safety protection from severe winds.

“If homeowners are in the planning stages of a new build or renovation project of a room such as an interior bathroom or walk-in closet, it’s the perfect time to consider installing a tornado safe room,” says Chapman-Henderson. “There are also a number of pre-built safe rooms that can be easily installed into a home,” she adds.

To watch a video on the proper construction and installation of a safe room, click here or call the toll-free FLASH consumer helpline at (877) 221-SAFE (7233) for free information and assistance.

About FLASH

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 100 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster-resistant nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council®, Kohler Power Systems, National Weather Service, RenaissanceRe, Simpson Strong-Tie®, State Farm®, USAA® and WeatherPredict Consulting Inc. In 2008, FLASH opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting http://www.flash.org or calling (877) 221-SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are always well protected from natural and manmade disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.

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