Weather

Safe rooms provide shelter from storms

Posted June 1, 2011 9:49 p.m. EDT
Updated June 2, 2011 6:52 a.m. EDT

— Larry Witek’s Cary home has a room built to withstand disaster.

“It is better to have it and never need it, than to need it and never have it,” Witek said Wednesday.

The room has walls of solid concrete 8 inches thick with steel reinforcement throughout.

In case of severe weather, Witek’s children know to go to the room.

Rex Bost of Bost Custom Homes built the house and safe room in 2005.

The rooms are “simply designed to save human lives in a hurricane or tornado that would blow a house down," Bost said. 

Bost has been building the rooms since 2001, after a series of bad storms moved through the state. He said interest in the rooms has increased since April 16 when more than 25 tornadoes slammed the state.

Bost said the safe rooms can be used for other things besides disasters. 

Witek is turning his into a wine cellar. 

"If a storm came, you could go down, drink some wine and enjoy it," Witek said. 

In another home Bost Bost built, the safe room doubles as a pantry with re-enforced walls, ceiling, floor and door.

The rooms cost about "a couple thousand dollars," Bost said, and can be built out of a basement or be framed into a room of the house.

Every room is built to U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration specifications. 

"There is a good likelihood that this cubicle – the way it is designed and constructed – would survive even if the rest of the house did not," Bost said. 

Bost stressed that the rooms are not panic rooms, which are built as a way for homeowners to hide from intruders, and do not contain television monitors.