The exterior and interior design of spaces designated as "safe rooms," "storm shelters," and "tornado shelters" are inextricably linked to the protection of the occupants. However, the design of such spaces does not always meet safety standards suggested or established by prevailing agencies. While this is often just the concern of an individual homeowner in storm prone areas, it becomes a much larger issue when viewed in the context of an educational institution. This study examines the current design and space plans of several primary storm shelters located on a large mid-western university campus in the heart of “Tornado Alley.” In this study, the existing spaces were evaluated in comparison to standards established by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The buildings and shelters included in the study were chosen based on construction dates, shelter occupant loads, type of building, and access to buildings. This paper will discuss the development of an assessment tool, which may be used to quickly and accurately evaluate spaces for potentially hazardous elements and obstacles affecting accessibility requirements.
|Keywords:||Interior Design, Shelter, Safety, Safety Standards, Occupants, Educational Institution, Assessment Tool, Evaluation|
Assistant Professor, Department of Design, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK, USA