Safe Rooms and Shelters : Protecting People Against Terrorist Attacks

Safe Rooms and Shelters : Protecting People Against Terrorist Attacks
Safe Rooms and Shelters : Protecting People Against Terrorist Attacks
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This manual presents information about the design and construction of shelters in the workplace, home, or community building that will provide protection in response to manmade hazards. Because the security needs and types of construction vary greatly, users may select the methods and measures that best meet their individual situations. The use of experts to apply the methodologies contained in this document is encouraged.

This document will discuss the design of shelters to protect against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosive (CBRE) attacks. Fallout shelters that are designed to protect against the effects of a nuclear weapon attack are not addressed in this publication. The risks of death or injury from CBRE attacks are not evenly distributed throughout the United States. This manual will guide the reader through the process of designing a shelter to protect against CBRE attacks. The intent of this manual is not to mandate the construction of shelters for CBRE events, but rather to provide design guidance for persons who wish to design and build such shelters.

The design and planning necessary for extremely high-capacity shelters that may be required for large, public venues, such as stadiums or amphitheaters, are beyond the scope of this design manual. An owner or operator of such a venue may be guided by concepts presented in this document, but detailed guidance concerning extremely high-capacity shelters is not provided. The design of such shelters requires attention to issues such as egress and life safety for a number of people that are orders of magnitude greater than those proposed for a shelter designed in accordance with the guidance provided herein.

The intent of this manual is not to override or replace current codes and standards, but rather to provide important guidance of best practices (based on current technologies and scientific research) where none has been available. No known building, fire, life safety code, or engineering standard has previously attempted to provide detailed information, guidance, and recommendations concerning the design of CBRE shelters for protection of the general public. Therefore, the information provided herein is the best available at the time this manual was published. Designing and constructing a shelter according to the criteria in this manual does not mean that the shelter will be capable of withstanding every possible event. The design professional who ultimately designs a shelter should state the limiting assumptions and shelter design parameters on the project documents.


Table of Contents

This manual includes the following chapters and appendices:

Chapter 1 presents design considerations, potential threats, the levels of protection, shelter types, siting, occupancy duration, and human factors criteria for shelters (e.g., square footage per shelter occupant, proper ventilation, distance/travel time and accessibility, special needs, lighting, emergency power, route marking and wayfinding, signage, evacuation considerations, and key operations zones).

Chapter 2 discusses the structural design criteria for blast and impact resistance, as well as shelters and model building types. Structural systems and building envelope elements for shelters are analyzed and protective design measures for the defined building types are provided.

Chapter 3 describes how to add chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) protection capability to a shelter or a safe room. It also discusses air filtration, safe room criteria, design requirements, operations and maintenance, commissioning, and training required to operate a shelter.

Chapter 4 discusses emergency management considerations, Federal CBRE response teams, emergency response and mass care, community shelter operations plans, descriptions of the responsibilities of the shelter team members, shelter equipment and supplies, maintenance plans, and commercial building shelter operation plans. Key equipment considerations and training are also discussed.

Appendix A presents the references used in the preparation of this document.

Appendix B contains a list of acronyms and abbreviations that appear in this document.


This manual can provide guidance for engineers, architects, building officials, and property owners to design shelters and safe rooms in buildings.

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