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DuPont Introduces In-Home Personal Protection from Dangers of Hurricanes

23 September 2004

DuPont is introducing its latest safety innovation - a residential storm shelter made with DuPont Kevlar that is engineered to help provide residents protection from the dangers of hurricanes.

According to weather experts, when a hurricane hits land, its winds can top more than 150 miles per hour, toppling trees and power lines, and sending debris flying through the air - making many common items and building materials dangerous weapons.

The DuPont StormRoom with Kevlar is an in-home storm shelter, available in several rectangular configurations, that features DuPont Kevlar sheathing built inside reinforced wall panels. When properly installed, the shelter literally acts as a safety net, helping to stop and deflect wind-borne debris.

Engineered to withstand hurricane and tornado wind speeds of up to 250 miles per hour, the DuPont StormRoom with Kevlar was originally designed to shield homeowners from the wrath and destruction of tornadoes. The DuPont StormRoom with Kevlar meets the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s national performance criteria for both hurricane and tornado shelters. In a series of tests conducted by an independent lab, the engineered panels built into the room were able to deflect a 12-foot, 15-pound two-by-four piece of wood shot out of a cannon at 100 miles per hour. This represents the speed at which a 250-miles-per-hour wind would propel the timber.

The DuPont StormRoom with Kevlar will be available initially in Florida this month through authorized construction installers. ""Residents should heed the advice of emergency response professionals in the event of evacuations,"" said Laura Dwyer, DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems business manager. ""Unfortunately, most stucco, siding or brick exteriors of homes are not designed to stop the dangerous missiles created by the high wind speeds of hurricanes and tornadoes. Also, hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes in an instant. Kevlar puts a virtually impenetrable barrier between residents and windborne debris, one of the leading causes of injuries during both hurricanes and tornadoes.""

Discovered by DuPont in 1965, Kevlar is an organic fibre in the aromatic polyamide (aramid) family that combines high strength with light weight, and comfort with protection. Kevlar is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis, providing reliable performance and solid strength. This unique combination of attributes also helps protect members of the military and law enforcement from harm that can come in many forms - including bullets, shrapnel and knives.

""The DuPont StormRoom with Kevlar uses the same molecular science and high-performance material found in the bullet-resistant vests that help protect military personnel and police around the world,"" said DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems Technology Leader Roger Siemionko. ""By capturing both the strength and flexibility of this advanced fibre and our safety knowledge, the DuPont StormRoom with Kevlar helps provide an easily accessible safe haven from hurricanes and tornadoes.""

The DuPont StormRoom with Kevlar looks like a small room inside a house or garage. Both the inside and outside of the storm shelter can be finished to match the walls of a home. The room is ventilated and electricity and plumbing can be installed. It is ideal for both existing homes and new home construction with a concrete slab foundation. Installed by an authorized building professional, the room can also be added to a new or existing garage with a slab concrete floor.

According to nationally known severe weather expert Warren Faidley, preparation and protection are the best plan for surviving when weather becomes life-threatening.

""As a journalist, I've recorded how severe hurricanes and tornadoes affect people's lives,"" said Faidley. ""In almost every survival story, the family had a plan and some type of shelter to protect themselves from the violent winds and debris. The lack of a quickly accessible protective shelter can make a difference in survival, since the option of driving or running to a distant shelter is often unrealistic.""





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