Safe Room : A Refuge In Your Home.

A Safe Room for the Rest Of Us.

Most
homes have a room or a large closet that can be converted into a safe retreat (a.k.a. panic room.)

Until fairly recent times it was usually the
very wealthy or high profile families that felt in need of this type of
defense against home invasion and kidnapping.

These days more and more homeowners are seeing the advantage of a secure refuse within their home.

There are specialist companies that can design and install a safe secure room to very high degrees of protection.

These
custom built areas can be constructed to withstand attack from all
sides, resist a high degree of brute force and be virtually bullet
proof.

Naturally this level of protection does not come cheap.

This page concentrates on safe rooms for the rest of us.

The idea is to create a space where you and your family can remain in
relative safety long enough for help to arrive.

How long it takes for
help, by which we normally mean the police, to arrive naturally depends
on your individual circumstances.

Is your home in a remote area
with no near neighbors? Or do you live in a busy city district where
traffic, especially in peak commuter hours, would slow down police
response time?

You need to know the longest time that it would likely to be before help reaches you, and design your safe room to keep your family protected for at least twice that time.

The door to your refuge.

Whichever room you select to turn into your safe refuge you will need to
pay great attention to the door. It is not only the means for your
family to enter your safe room but also the primary place a home invader
will attack.

bunker
No need to turn your room into a virtual nuclear bunker. Just harden your panic room enough to keep your family safe until help arrives.
 bunker
No need to turn your room into a virtual nuclear bunker. Just harden your panic room enough to keep your family safe until help arrives.

Most internal doors installed in homes are completely useless against attack. They are not designed with security in mind, they are flimsy, light and easily kicked in.

Your panic room should have a solid core door, without any glass panels, that is constructed for external use and with security in mind.

Your security door can be reinforced with a metal skin, which may help against being attacked with an ax or sledgehammer.

The
door itself, of course, is only one link in the chain. The lock has to
be able to withstand force and tampering, the strike plate also needs to
be strong and the door frame needs to be much tougher than the average
frame around internal doors.

A door that is hung to open outwards
is far less susceptible to brute force than one that opens inwards. The
lay out of the room that you choose to make your safe room, and the
layout of your home in general will dictate whether this option is open
to you.

Use a high grade deadbolt lock that has at least a one-inch
throw bolt and has been designed to combat lock picking.

Multiple locks,
top, center and bottom, or a locking system with multiple bolts,
disperse the effect of force over the whole door and so greatly reduce
the possibility of the frame failing.

Internal door strike plates
are usually secured only by the doorjamb molding which often will be
softwood lightly pinned, or tacked on to the frame, this offers hardly
any resistance.

You need to fit a strong, security strike plate held by screws that are at least three inches long.

Stronger hinges than the standard will be required for your panic room door, use strong screws the longer the better.

Your safe room windows need extra protection.

If at all possible choose a room with few windows for your safe refuge.
If the intruder is determined to get at you and has given up on getting
through the door he may try a window.

panic room door
Use stronger hinges than standard for your panic room door.
 panic room door
Use stronger hinges than standard for your panic room door.

Not so much a problem if your secure room is on an upper floor but with a ground floor refuge you definitely need to reinforce the windows.

Burglar bars
should keep the home invader out for more than enough time for help to
arrive, but would not stop him smashing the glass, reaching in and
aiming a firearm.

The more attractive alternative to burglar bars – window security film should keep the invader on the other side of the window for a considerable time. But you should consider internal steel shutters for the windows of your security shelter.

Internal
steel shutters, in conjunction with your other window security, will
keep the intruder away from your family even if he succeeds in breaking
the glass.

Inside the safe room.

Once your family is secured inside the safe room you will need to swiftly summon help. The room should contain a telephone, remember though that the home invaders may easily disable your phone line.

Ideally
install a separate line for your panic room that cannot be disabled.
Whether or not you are able to install a separate line, keep two cell phones permanently in the room, these cell phones should be kept fully charged at all times.

Regularly test the signal of the cell phones with the door of your
refuge closed and the window shutters down. Have a phone list
prominently displayed that contains emergency numbers and the phone
numbers of your neighbors.

As soon as your family is secured within the safe room contact the police
via the emergency number. Explain the situation as calmly as you can.
Tell the police that you are within your safe room and where the room is
located within your home.

Stay on the line to the police keeping
them updated. Do not leave your refuge, (even if you think the invaders
have fled,) until the police have arrived, have overpowered the
invaders, and tell you that it is safe to do so.

While one family member is contacting the police another can use the
other cell phone to alert neighbors of the situation.

Warn your
neighbors to stay in their homes and not to put themselves in
danger by confronting the home invaders. If they can your neighbors
should make any observations, from the safety of their homes, that will
be of interest to the police.

If, for some reason, you are unable
to contact the police, contact a neighbor (or anybody) and get them to
do so as swiftly as they can.

You will want to keep emergency lighting, flashlights with spare
batteries, in your safe room in case the intruders disrupt your
electricity supply.

You may also want to keep other emergency
supplies, water etc., but remember that the purpose of your secure
retreat is to keep your family safe until the police arrive – which,
hopefully, in most cases will not be long.

A room in which your family members can shelter is invaluable.

Remember that your safe room should be one part of your overall home security plan.
The measures that you take to protect your home and family from
burglars and other unwelcome visitors will go a long way to protecting
your family from home invasion.

Remember also that it is the wealthy and famous that are most in need
of a panic room and one of a higher degree of security than is
described here.

That is not to say that the risk does not apply
to any homeowner. Most burglaries occur during the day when there is a
likelihood of homes being empty and most burglars will flee if
discovered in the act.

It must be said though that some would resort to violence if challenged,
and for that reason alone a safe room in which your family members can
shelter is invaluable.

There is also the chance, whether you are wealthy
or not, that intruders have more on their mind than stealing what they
can.



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Safe Room.

Combination Door Locks.
If
you had a door lock that does not need a key to operate it you would
have no worries about losing your key. Combination door locks are one
type of keyless lock.

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