High Velocity Hurricane Zones

The primary objective in debris impact testing of storm shelters and shelter components is to assure compliance with a high standard of performance in protecting shelter occupants from wind-borne debris. Performance criteria include preventing perforation of the shelter or component by the design missile and preventing deformations which could cause injuries to the occupants.

Impact tests were conducted on March 8, 2012 on the trapezoidal bolted steel panels for above ground shelters for SteelMaster. All tests were conducted for resistance to the Protocol 4, Tornado Missiles and the requirements of ICC-500 (2008). The tests on the .06-in. thick panel were successful for all listed impact speeds. All testing was conducted in strict accordance to FEMA 320/361 and ICC-500.

The Wind Science and Engineering research Center performs debris impact tests on storms shelters, shelter components, and building materials to evaluate their ability to resist various types of projectiles propelled at different speeds in accordance to accepted and proposed test protocols as follows :

Protocol 1

  • Hurricane envelope impact by a 9 lb. wood 2”x4” propelled at 34 mph, in accordance with the Florida building Code, the International Code Council and the Texas Dept. of Insurance windstorm Resistant Construction Guide.

Protocol 2

  • Hurricane shelter speed impact by a 9 lb. wood 2”x4” propelled at 0.40 x the design wind speed (mph) for horizontal impacts and 0.10 x the design wind speed (mph) for vertical impacts, in accordance to the proposed ICC 5001 – ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.

Protocol 3

  • Hurricane shelter speed impact by a 9 lb. wood 2”x4” propelled at 0.50 x the design wind speed (mph) for horizontal impacts and 0.33 x the design wind speed (mph) for vertical impacts, in accordance with FEMA 320, “Taking Shelter from the Storm,” 2008 Edition and FEMA 361, “Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms,” 2008 Edition.

Protocol 4

  • Tornado shelter speed impact by a 15 lb. wood 2”x4” propelled at 100 mph for horizontal impacts and 67 mph for vertical impacts, in accordance with FEMA 320, “Taking Shelter from the Storm,” 2008 Edition and FEMA 361, “Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms,” 2008 Edition.

Protocol 5

  • Department of Energy (DOE) Impact Standards. This is a Life Safety Standard which uses an Extreme Wind Map for Hurricanes with wind speeds starting at 225 mph and with contours along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast stepping inland in 10 mph increments to 160 mph.