This document is a guidance manual for engineers, architects, building officials, and prospective shelter owners. It presents important information about the design and construction of community shelters that will provide protection during tornado and hurricane events. For the purpose of this manual, a community shelter is defined as a shelter that is designed and constructed to protect a large number of people from a natural hazard event. The number of persons taking refuge in the shelter will typically be more than 12 and could be up to several hundred or more. These numbers exceed the maximum occupancy of small, in-residence shelters recommended in FEMA320.
FEMA 361 is available in interactive PDF format below.
Each PDF below contains an individual Chapter, Bookmark, Table of Contents, Thumbnail views, and internal links to ease navigation throughout the publication. NOTE: Downloaded PDFs must be kept in the same directory to work properly.
FEMA361 Front Matter -- Includes Cover, Preface, interactive and fully linked Table of Contents, Project Team, Acknowledgments, Review Committee, and Acronyms and Abbreviations sections. (PDF 1.3MB)
Chapter 1 -- Introduction (PDF 144K)
Chapter 2 -- Protection Objectives (PDF 3.5MB)
Chapter 3 -- Characteristics of Tornadoes and Hurricanes (PDF 948KB)
Chapter 4 -- Shelter Types, Location, and Siting Concepts (PDF 1.2MB)
Chapter 5 -- Load Determination and Structural Design Criteria (PDF 1.7MB)
Chapter 6 -- Performance Criteria for Debris Impact (PDF 2.0MB)
Chapter 7 -- Additional Considerations (PDF 708KB)
Chapter 8 -- Human Factors Criteria (PDF 100KB)
Chapter 9 -- Emergency Management Considerations (PDF 3MB)
Chapter 10 -- Design Commentary (PDF 1.3MB)
Chapter 11 -- References (PDF 48KB)
Appendix A -- Benefit/Cost Analysis Model for Tornado and Hurricane Shelters (PDF 40KB)
Appendix B -- Site Assessment Checklists (PDF 3.8MB)
Appendix C -- Case Study I -- Stand-Alone Community Shelter (North Carolina) (PDF 296KB)
Appendix D -- Case Study II -- School Shelter Design (Kansas) (PDF 104KB)
Appendix E -- Wall Sections That Passed the Missile Impact Tests (PDF 744KB)
Appendix F -- Doors and Hardware That Passed the Missile Impact Tests (PDF 60KB)
Appendix G -- Design Guidance on Missile Impact Protection Levels for Wood Sheathing (PDF 536KB)
For more about tornadoes, please visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web site tornado section.
Against the Wind - In this publication we discuss improvements you can do to help make your home stronger before the next hurricane strikes. While these projects, if done correctly, can make your home safer during a hurricane, they are no guarantee that your home won’t be damaged or even destroyed.