These days, many people are choosing to install panic rooms (also known as safe rooms) as a way to keep their family and valuables safe during an emergency, such as a home break-in, terrorist attack or natural disaster. If the type of panic room made popular in Hollywood productions is beyond your budget, there's still plenty you can do to create a safe area in your home for your family.
Evaluating Your Situation
It's important to evaluate exactly what your needs are and how you anticipate using your panic room. For instance, how large is your family? This will impact the size of the room you need. What kind of emergency are you guarding against? These points should influence the decisions you make about your panic room.
Choosing a Location
It's not necessary to construct an entire room inside your home to serve as a panic room. Instead, you can repurpose an existing room in your home. Using an interior bathroom that has no window to the outside is an excellent choice for several reasons. In addition to the fact that you'll have access to a toilet, it will also give you access to water and electrical outlets.
If you choose to construct a panic room from scratch, a good choice for a location would be your garage. One reason for this is because it is on the ground floor, which is always a good location for a panic room. If you're concerned about hurricanes or tornadoes, a basement (if you have one) would also be a good place to construct a panic room. However, this option would not work if you live in an area prone to flooding.
What You'll Need
If you're primarily concerned about home intrusion and your home has a security system, you probably don't need a panic room you can stay in for days at a time. The room will simply serve as a safe place to wait until authorities arrive or until the danger is over. But in some cases you will need to be able to hold out for a long time. Below are some things you might want to incorporate into your panic room.
A phone so you can contact the police or rescue personnel. While this could be a landline, a cell phone is more secure because the line can't be cut.
A basic video/monitor setup (with battery backup) so you can see and hear what's going on outside the panic room.
A single point of entry (no windows or skylights).
A door that is sturdy enough that it's almost impossible to get through without a key. This means that the frame around the door also has to be tough.
Enough water and food to last a couple of days.
A small portable toilet with a screen enclosure (unless you're using your bathroom as your panic room).
A couple of hand cranked flashlights or lanterns, preferably with a charging attachment for your cell phone or tablet.
A large number of books on a reader or tablet to keep yourself and your children occupied.
A first-aid kit, including any medicines you might regularly take.
Keep this tips in mind as you work to plan your panic room, and consider contacting local locksmiths for assistance in making the room as secure as possible.