Why and How a Designated and Prepared Panic Room Can Save Your Bacon

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The term “panic room” is a little misleading. The room that one sees in movies and on TV, with impenetrable doors, steel walls and unfailing security and surveillance systems is out if reach for most people, and in fact very, very unnecessary as well. A more accurate and comforting term is “safe room” or “safe haven”. A panic room hints that you should go there only if there for some reason exists a state of general panic in your home, and panic us never ever constructive. A safe room however, is something every home should have.

Even if you live in a small house or apartment, chances are that there is a room or area that you can designate as your safe haven in case of emergency. In a pinch, it doesn’t even have to be inside your own home. How do you create such an emergency safe haven and what should it contain?

A safe haven should be more secure than the rest of your dwelling, of course, but again; we’re not talking inches of steel and Kevlar here – you’re not building it to withstand a nuclear attack, but rather a room where you can feel safe from intruders or other unwanted situations in your own home. As far as where this place should be, it is obviously best if it is inside your house or apartment. Choose a room that has no windows, or at least no more than one.

If you’re on the ground floor, that’s a plus. Make sure your chosen room is large enough so that all the people you want to cram in there in the hour of need have enough room to lie down and rest. You should invest in a metal door for the room, but not a giant walk-in safe door. Choose a moderately priced steel core door, preferably one that looks like any other door in your home. These are usually available at nice prices from good home improvement outlets. When you have the door, make sure it is properly installed. If not included, install a deadbolt and perhaps even a so called “police bar”. In the room (remember, this could even be your kitchen or walk-in closet) you should have a readiness kit of some sort. Include water (this is the most important item), some canned food and protein/carbohydrate powder. Again, make sure you either have enough bottled water or access to some other water source.

Blankets enough to go around should be there (but no more than five), and a telephone if you can spare one. If you’re going to build the room from the ground up, isolate the room for sound. This will keep intruders in the dark about where you are even through that whispered conversation with the 911 dispatcher, and there’s really not a lot of extra cost involved if you read up on how to do this yourself. A change of at least underwear for everyone is mandatory. Now, if the room has a window, extra locks on it (remember, choose a room that either has no windows at all, or just one) is also a good idea. Reinforced glass, frosted for privacy is a good investment.

Lastly – bear in mind that a safe haven room is not for escaping gas leaks, water leaks, fires or other dangerous but not human threats. A safe haven is a place to seek shelter if an intruder or unwanted person gains entry to your home, and should only be used as such. In other articles, we will cover sound proofing for safety, as well as fire, gas and water safety.


write by Layton Johnson

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