Safe Rooms Protect Metro Families

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It's been the 7th most deadly year of tornadoes in U.S. history, according to government records, with more than 500 deaths. And the season's not even finished. Some in the metro aren't taking any chances.

Dave Fritson had a safe room built into his new home. He says it's comforting to have a secure room that could take a direct hit, better than just a basement.

"It just eases my mind to know that we would be encased in concrete as opposed to trying to ride out the storm with possibly debris coming down on top of us," Fritson explained.

The home builder, Absolute Customs, says they put safe rooms into about 60% of their new homes. But for those of us who have no plans to build new, the Department of Homeland Security offers plans to create a safe room in existing houses.

FEMA says homeowners can construct their own room by using supplies from their local hardware stores by using things like cinder blocks as well as plywood boards.

"if you know what you're doing, I think any competent builder could build one," said Craig Broadstone, owner of Omaha Remodeling Associates.

Broadstone says he's helping people build safe rooms into existing foundations for not a lot of money.

"If you wanted to build something on a lower level you could actually make it into a multipurpose room. You could build it into a bathroom, steam room or a sauna, and make it safe enough to withstand a direct hit by a tornado," Broadstone explained.

FEMA has a lot of information on how to prepare a safe room for your home. They answer tons of questions from, and also have a number of construction plans. If you want more information go to:

If you'd like more information, locally, on safe homes contact Omaha Remodeling Associates at 402-953-2871, or email