Skip To Main Content

FEMA Storm Shelter


FEMA Storm Shelter
Safe Room
Buffalo High School
West Side
500 W. Main
Buffalo, MO

The community FEMA Storm Shelter is a public safe room during tornado or dangerous high wind events. The tornado shelter is located on the west side of Buffalo High School building near the intersection of Spruce Street and Main Street. The tornado shelter is owned by the Dallas County School District and constructed to provide protection for the students and staff during tornado and extreme high wind events. The shelter is operated in partnership with Buffalo and Dallas County Emergency Management Officials, Buffalo Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff's Department, and Dallas County Sheriff's Posse. The tornado shelter will also be available for residents in the community who do not have basements or other safe rooms that live within the protection zone that encompasses a one-mile radius around the shelter. The shelter will be opened when a tornado watch is issued, tornado warning is issued, and/or city sirens are activated. Residents may leave the shelter when the all-clear is given by the local emergency management office.

Due to estimated time necessary to reach the shelter after a warning has been given and the maximum capacity of 1,895 persons in the 9,477 usuable square feet, including the student body and staff, the tornado shleter cannot provide shelter for those beyond the one mile radius protection zone. This zone is the City Limits of Buffalo.

At the left side of this webpage, you will find links to a Shelter Floor Plan Map, a Location Map, and a Special Needs Form (physical impairments, special medical alerts, aid animal instructions, etc.) to be completed and returned to the Buffalo High School office. The office will provide you with a copy of the special needs form for documentation that may need to be presented at the shelter.  Please note the availability of parking around the shelther to accommodate handicap residents, as well as other residents. Handicap vehicles will enter the campus from Main Street.  Nonhandicap vehicles will use the north parking lot on Main Street. If you have any questions, please contact the administration office, 345-2222. 

School District Reminds Public of Storm Shelter Procedures

The Dallas County School District operates, in partnership with the local emergency agencies, the public storm shelter located on the west side of the Buffalo High School Campus, located at 500 W. Main Street. The shelter can be accessed from Main Street or Spruce Street.  Individuals utilizing the shelter can park in the north parking lot on Main Street or on the west side of the high school, although parking in this area has been unorganized and chaotic during recent storms. It is recommended to park in rows, similar to parking for high school events to allow individuals access to their vehicle to leave the shelter when the all clear is given.

The storm shelter is designed to shelter the high school student and staff populations, as well as those living within the city limits. The safe room is designed to accommodate 1,895 persons in its 9,477 usable square feet. The public is expected to enter the safe room with doors closing, and remain inside the shelter until the all clear is given by emergency management officials.

The storm shelter is opened to the public when a tornado watch is issued for the area and when a tornado warning is issued or the city sirens are activated. Normally, the city sirens are activated for tornado warnings in the area, but also straight line winds of 75 mph or higher, large diameter hail, or any other life threatening hazard that requires you take shelter immediately. Normal activation will last for three minutes but could continue as long as the threat to life continues.

For accountability purposes, anyone utilizing the shelter will be asked to sign in and sign out as time permits. If a tornado strikes the area, emergency agencies will utilize the sign in sheet in their efforts to locate people.  Utilizing the shelter will also require a general agreement to follow the instructions of the shelter supervisor and follow shelter rules and procedures which will be posted in the building. The shelter is supervised by school personnel during school hours and by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Posse during non-school hours. The Sheriff’s Posse supervises the shelter as a community service and its members are volunteers. This service is a great service to the community and the school district.

It is recommended the public make informed decisions as to whether it is safe to travel to the storm shelter or if it would be safer sheltering in homes, neighbors home, or elsewhere. Make a plan in advance. You can download the SWIFT 911 app in your app store and subscribe to the severe weather group, to receive notifications of severe weather and other critical information in the county. More information will continue to be shared in the coming weeks as a reminder and as we endure the peak storm season. Information about the shelter can also be found on the website.  The FEMA storm shelter located at Mallory Elementary is NOT A PUBLIC SHELTER.


When you enter and utilize the tornado shelter, you are expected to abide by the safe room expectations. These expectations are part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) expectations of operations and a matter of public safety.

  1. Enter the safe room and remain in the safe room until the all clear is given.
  2. Sign in upon arrival and sign out when leaving.
  3. Follow the directions of the safe room supervisors.
  4. Be seated
  5. No pets allowed, expect service animals. Service animals must be registered at the Buffalo High School office in advance and documentation must be provided.
  6. No horse play or playing of any kind.
  7. Parents will supervise their children.
  8. Be courteous to the volunteer safe room supervisors.
  9. No firearms allowed on the premises.

Failure to follow the safe room expectations could result in being removed from safe room or being prohibited of utilizing the safe room.