Jennifer Easton

Designing for Disaster, a new exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., showcases the critical role of building design and construction in protecting against hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes and other dangers. Resilience is a key tenet of the green building movement and USGBC’s work. Building to anticipate threats, hazards and disasters helps foster stronger, safer communities that are better equipped to withstand both anticipated and unforeseen circumstances.

Storm shelter door openings from USGBC Platinum level member ASSA ABLOY are featured prominently in one of the Designing for Disaster exhibit’s marquis displays: a partially deconstructed FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) P320-specified safe room for residences. Storm shelters or safe rooms designed and built according to the FEMA guidelines are one of the few defenses against a tornado or violent storm that can produce wind speeds up to 250 mph and turn everyday items into destructive flying debris.

"The door is the weakest link in the shelter because it has moving parts and needs to be operable," said James Bell, windstorm coordinator for ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions. "There is a dangerous misconception that a shelter door opening can be constructed simply by grouping heavy duty products together. The FEMA testing procedure shows the dangers of this mindset. An opening built without specially designed products will likely fail and expose shelter occupants to danger."

The door opening installed on the Designing for Disaster safe room exhibit is constructed with products from ASSA ABLOY Group brands, including a StormPro door and frame from CECO Door, heavy duty SP3786 hinges from McKINNEY, Maxum deadbolts from MEDECO, a 5400 Series cylindrical lock from YALE and a 2005AT threshold from PEMKO.

The exhibition has garnered national media attention and was featured in a series of segments on The Weather Channel.

The exhibition opened May 11, 2014, and will remain on view through Aug. 2, 2015.