A safe room or panic room is a fortified room which is installed in a private residence or business to provide a safe hiding place for the inhabitants in the event of a break-in, home invasion, or other threat. Safe rooms usually contain communications equipment, so that law enforcement authorities can be contacted.
Construction techniques Edit
The simplest safe room is simply a closet with the hollow-core door replaced with an exterior-grade solid-core door that has a deadbolt and longer hinge and lock plate screws.
More expensive safe rooms, such as those constructed for celebrities and executives, have walls and a door reinforced with sheets of steel, Kevlar, or bullet-resistant fibreglass. The hinges and strike plate are often reinforced with long screws. Some safe rooms may also have externally-vented ventilation systems and a separate telephone connection.
Safe rooms in the basement can be built with concrete walls, a building technique that is normally not possible on the upper floors of wood-framed structures unless there is substantial structural reinforcement to the building.
U.S. State Department often uses steel grillwork much like a jail to seal off parts of a home used by U.S. Foreign Service members overseas when they are living in cities with a high crime threat. In some cities the entire upstairs area is grilled off as well as every window and door to the home. Other homes have steel doors to one or more bedrooms that can be bolted closed to provide time for security forces to arrive.
Safe rooms may contain communications equipment, such as a cellular telephone, land-line telephone or an amateur radio transceiver, so that law enforcement authorities can be contacted. There may also be a monitor for external security cameras and an alarm system. In basic safe rooms, a peephole in the door may be used for a similar purpose. Safe rooms are typically stocked with basic emergency and survival items such as a flashlight, blankets, a first-aid kit, water, packaged food, self-defence tools, firearms, a gas mask, and a simple portable toilet.
Other meanings Edit
A safe room can be quite elaborate or as simple as a corner of the basement. An effective safe room can be constructed from two concrete corner walls, two other sturdy walls, and a stout ceiling, preferably thick reinforced concrete like the other basement walls. A stout door, secondary exit, and good ventilation are necessary. A room like this could alternatively be used as a storage room for things like wine or records. In a new construction, a room like this can be built quite inexpensively. It can be stocked with as many or as few supplies as the homeowner deems necessary.
See also Edit
Further reading Edit
- The Secure Home, Joel Skousen, Swift Learning Resources; 3rd ed, 1999 (ISBN 1-56861-055-6)
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