Made popular by the movie Panic Room with Jody Foster, a safe room is intended to withstand an all-out assault by a home invader. While the safe room in the movie is an extreme example of a high-tech safe room, nearly any room of your house, if modified properly, can used a safe room as long as it has a functioning lock.
The idea behind a safe room is that if your home was invaded you would have a safe place that you could retreat to until help arrived. Safe rooms are incredibly important for women and families with young children, who may or may not be able to defend themselves otherwise. This is especially true for celebrities, or those who live in bad neighborhoods where break-ins are common.
Designing A Safe Room
Install security system
The first step in protecting your house is to install a security system for the whole house. Not only will you immediately feel safer with this high tech service, but also it will act as the first line of defense. For example, if someone sets off the security system it will alert you, which should provide enough time for you to get into your safe room. The trick is early warning. An effective home security system will keep you alert and notify the authorities of a potential threat.
Use outside door and reinforced door frame
There’s a huge difference between outside and inside doors, and that is usually three inches of solid wood. Using an outside door for your safe room can act as a security measure, because it is extremely difficult to break through. Also, a lock is only as good as its counterparts. For that reason, your safe room should not only have a heavy door, but also reinforce the doorframe.
First, you need to replace the indoor doorknobs with heavier outdoor knobs. You may also want a one-sided deadbolt. Multiple locks can distribute the impact over a great area. This reduces the chance of frame failure and lessens the chance of lock failure. If you have kids, you may want to consider a keypad lock. This type of lock can be set so that it automatically locks when the door is closed. If you find yourself racing to the safe room, all you will have to do is close the door. From the inside, the door wil open easily.
Rather than upgrading existing windows in your safe room, you can buy security windows. These come with shatterproof glass and are very difficult to break through. If you do not want the expense of replacing the windows, I recommend you use shatterproof laminate on the windows. This transparent sheeting prevents the window from being easily shattered or broken into.
Have a phone
Probably the most important piece of equipment in your safe room is a working telephone. It will allow you to communicate with the outside world, particularly the authorities. Not only can you call the police, but you can communicate with them when they arrive to your house. The authorities will record the incident.
Jamie Aldson is a freelance writer and engineer. Her company specializes in aluminum enclosure solutions and machine guarding systems, including control room enclosures and safe rooms.