Tips for Creating a DIY Safe Room

Recently, we provided you with useful information on surviving a home invasion robbery. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use this information, but we discourage the ‘that will never happen to me’ mentality and prefer that you to be prepared for such scenarios just in case. Today, we’d like to arm you with a few detailed tips for creating a safe hiding space in your home just in case an intruder enters while you are inside.

Panic Room, Safe Room…What’s the Difference?

Before we go any further, we want you to understand that the following tips are not for a ‘panic room’, but are strictly intended for a ‘safe room’. The difference you ask? Well, we define a panic room as a place for refuge in the event of a broad-scale emergency, such as a nuclear attack, a terrorist attack or something similar. Such rooms should be bullet-proof, weatherproof and properly ventilated to prevent fumes from entering, as well as provide enough air supply for long term residence, if needed. A safe room, on the other hand, is intended as a temporary safe space in the event your home is ever broken into while you or your family members are inside. While it can share elements of a panic room, extreme measures like bullet-proofing and building a complex ventilation system are purely optional. Keep in mind that the average burglar is not as sophisticated as most t.v. villains and will unlikely put forth too much effort to extract you from a safe room.

Most Rooms Can Double As Do-It-Yourself Safe Rooms

Many have seen the movie Panic Room (starring Jodie Foster) and have an idea that such a space costs a lot of money to construct. While it is true that a similar room probably would cost a pretty penny, much less is required to create a safe room in your house. (Note, also, that the room in that movie is an actual panic room and not merely a safe room.) A bathroom, spare bedroom, basement, attic space or even a closet can easily double as a safe room.

A Room With a View? No.

The most ideal space useful in creating a safe room is a room with no windows. If you don’t have such a room in your home, one with the fewest windows or even with very small windows will suffice. Securing any windows with security shutters and guarding them with surveillance cameras is also advisable.

Barriers to Entry

Every safe room should be secured with a sturdy door and a door jamb that will not allow the door to be easily pushed or kicked in. Steel doors, heavy wooden doors or solid core doors will generally do for this purpose. Doors should also be equipped with one or more access control devices, too. We recommend a biometric reader like the Adel Biometric Fingerprint Door Lock for this purpose since such devices are only operable by you and your family members.

Communication Tools

Keeping a fully-charged cellphone is always recommended for a safe room. This phone should not be used for everyday purposes, but should be a device that is always kept inside of the safe room and only used for emergency purposes. We also recommend that you check the phone monthly to make sure that it is in working order. In addition to this, consider also keeping a dedicated landline inside of the room as a backup in case your cellphone is not getting a full signal at the time that you need it.

Alarm System

Of course, all safe rooms should also be equipped with an alarm system. Placing an alarm panel inside of your safe room is what we recommend. You may also want to consider installing a wireless alarm system in order to prevent wire tampering and, by all means, make sure that your system is professionally monitored. Remember that you can save money by dealing directly with a monitoring company instead of signing a lengthy (and expensive) contract with a third-party security company.

Surveillance Tactics

Placing surveillance cameras at key places throughout your home will help you monitor the whereabouts of an intruder if you should ever have to barricade yourself inside of a safe room. Where you place cameras is entirely up to you, but we recommend a multi-channel system allowing you to place a camera at your safe room’s entrance (so that you can see if an intruder is trying to break into your safe space) as well as at all of your exterior doors and windows. Your system’s monitor should also be present inside of your safe room so that you can watch safely from within. It is very important, however, that you remain inside of your safe room until the police arrive even if you watch an intruder’s departure via your surveillance system.

More Information

FEMA offers free information on creating panic rooms and some of the same information can be useful in creating a safe room. Remember that you can self-install most of the devices recommended for use in a panic or safe room and, if purchased through our website, our tech team is always available to you for installation and troubleshooting assistance. Also, bear in mind that the creation of a safe room can be a long-term project. With the basics in place (making the room immediately functional in case you need to use it before it is completely finished), you can take your time layering your security devices needed to optimize the room’s safety and effectiveness.

Ideas Welcome

Have any of you ever constructed or used a safe room before? As always, we’d love to hear your input below.

 

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