F5 Tornados vs. Wood Doors: Get Near Absolute Protection

Innovating Protection: AMBICO’s Tornado-Resistant Wood Doors Defy Nature’s Fury

A wood door has never passed ICC 500…until now!  While Twister (Twister) may have been a box office hit that offered adrenaline-fueled storm chasing and grandiose special effects, the truth about tornados is truly devastating. Learn more about AMBICO’s tornado-resistant wood doors below.

What is an F5 Tornado?

An average of 1253 tornados occurs every year in the United States, with a majority of those occurring in Tornado Alley. Tornado Alley, according to the National Centers of Environmental Information, can be unofficially defined as central Texas, northern Iowa, and from central Kansas and Nebraska east to western Ohio. These tornados, which are measured with the Enhanced Fujita Scale, are ranked with an EF-Scale rank from EFU (no surveyable damage) to EF5 (incredible damage and 200-322 mph winds) and cause billions of dollars worth of damage, and more devastatingly, the loss of life. This is why storm shelters or safe rooms for F5 tornadoes are so important. Luckily, our tornado-resistant doors provide the protection against F5 tornadoes that you need.

Wood Doors for Storm Shelters and Safe Rooms

Thankfully, a wide array of storm shelters are constructed to safeguard against the threat of tornados and debris. Although you might think of storm shelters as important features in residential units, the unpredictability of tornados and their occurrences means storm and tornado shelters also need to be in the everyday places people go, including public buildings, emergency response centers, commercial buildings, and education facilities. According to the 2021 ICC International Building Code Educational Group E (schools with 50 or more occupants), tornado shelters should be constructed in accordance with the 2014 ICC 500/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters. These designated tornado resistant schools are often found in Tornado Alley, and AMBICO is no stranger to supplying solutions to some of the hardest hit tornado areas.

Get Near Absolute Protection with AMBICO’s Tornado Resistant Doors

For over 25 years, AMBICO has designed and manufactured tornado resistant steel doors and frames that meet FEMA -361 Design and Construction Guidance for Community Shelters and the 2014 ICC 500/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters. While on different job sites throughout areas in Tornado Alley, AMBICO discovered many steel tornado shelter doors being used as interior doors in schools and in corridors next to traditional wood doors. Realizing the only reason steel doors were being specified was due to tornado shelter and safe room doors not being available in wood, AMBICO set out to develop a tornado resistant wood door that could provide a design solution to architects while offering the protection of steel.

Using our extensive knowledge in designing wood clad doors with steel cores, we tested our tornado wood door rigorously to ensure it would pass the 2014 ICC 500/ NSSA Standard. Although the door is wood clad, it is designed for the steel core to take the most damage but also ensuring the wood face veneer does not splinter or separate from the door in the event that debris makes contact with the door. Our wood door and steel frame assembly was tested and certified by Intertek, meeting the ICC 500 (2104) test standard for 250 MPH wind speed and debris impact.

What Does This Mean for Architects?

Architects now have a choice when it comes to designing schools or other buildings with interior tornado resistant assemblies. Before, architects could only choose tornado resistant steel doors and frames, but now they can choose AMBICO’s tornado resistant wood door and steel frame that offers the same protection as a steel door with the appearance, texture and finish of a wood door. With a variety of face veneers available in different species, cuts, and grades and with custom stain matching or clear coat finishes, AMBICO’s tornado resistant wood doors and steel frames are a testament to our continuing dedication to life safety assemblies while maintaining the aesthetic appeal so often desired by architects. Contact us today for more information.