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FEMA 361 - Hurricane Shelters

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I’m doing 2 buildings that will also serve as Fema Hurricane shelters and have run into a few questions.


  1. The approved wall sections seem pretty cut and dried but it seems there is little info on the roof.  I assume 6” concrete is a minimum but I don’t see where it actually says that anywhere.  Can anyone shed some light on this.
  2. In a checklist in one of the chapters it mentions a penalty if your roof is spanning over 40’, but I see no other mention of this.  I have about a 100’ span roof but as long as it’s designed for the uplift and has the concrete mentioned above I don’t see a problem.  I can find no limit on roof span other than a footnote mention in the checklist I mentioned.
  3. Is there any type of limit to 3 story shelters?  Someone has brought this question up, but I haven’t come across any type of limit.  One of the buildings is a 3 story pan joist building.


I should add that these are 2 buildings that are stand alone community shelters.


Any input would be appreciated.






John Jones, PE, SE , SECB
Barnett · Jones · Wilson, LLC
Pell City & Tuscaloosa, Alabama