A panic room also known as a safe room, is a secure area that has been fortified inside a residents where the homes occupants can find refuge in the event their personal safety is at risk.
For a safe room to effectively address one’s security needs, it has to be capable of keeping the security threat out until the authorities arrive.
Most people living in a large urban area or in a smaller city/community with its own police force, shouldn’t have to wait long for the local authorities to reach their homes after 911 is called.
If the average emergency response time from law-enforcement in your own area is not too long, then constructing a panic room inside your home can be an inexpensive project that can be accomplished without much effort.
Most law-enforcement agencies in recent years have been dealing with various budget cuts & some of them were forced to reduce the size of their departments due to this.Performing the same job with less manpower & resources has also caused the emergency response times in certain areas to increase.
This is unfortunate, especially for many individuals & families who have already being experiencing a longer emergency response time than most people, due to the remote location of their homes.
The longer one has to wait for the authorities to reach their residence after a 911 emergency call is made, the more fortified the panic room they construct needs to be.
People create safe rooms inside their homes by fortifying a large closet, an existing room or constructing a new one in an unfinished basement.
If you are thinking about creating such a room in your own home, there are a few things you should first consider prior to choosing its location.
The room you fortify as a safe room or a new one you construct will obviously need to be large enough to accommodate everyone living in the home.
It will also be best to have no windows in the safe room you create.
If this turns out to be a significant problem & the room you need to fortify does have a window, you will need to be creative by having something in the room that can quickly be used to cover it.
The window will need to be covered with something strong like a thick piece of plywood & you will need to have a method for keeping it firmly locked in place.
It will only be effective if a criminal cannot easily remove it by force.
A panic room should also be located in an area where all family members can access it quickly & easily. In the event of a home invasion, a safe room would likely become ineffective if all family members do not make it inside the room.
If someone does not make it inside they will likely be threatened with severe physical harm, as such a threat would be used to convince those inside the safe room to immediately open the door.
Everyone in your home should also have a duress code for your alarm system. This is especially important if a criminal was to force you or a family member to enter your code to disarm it.
Having a safe room inside your home can undoubtedly prevent family members from becoming victimized by home invasion criminals, sexual predators & other deranged individuals that violently attack people in their homes.
A panic room can also provide those living in a home with a false sense of security, if certain measures are not taken that can help ensure everyone receives the time they need to enter it.
You will find physical & electronic security measures along with various security protocols that need to be followed on my home invasion protection web page.
Implementing these measures & protocols can help keep your home & family safe & secure from a home invasion.
They will also significantly increase the probability of a criminal’s presence first being detected while they are still on the outside of your residence.
All family members should receive enough time to access the panic room, if they become aware of the security threat before a criminal(s) is able to enter your home.
One last thing you will want to consider about the location of your safe room, is how much it will cost you to construct it. If you are working with a limited budget there are two things that can reduce the cost of creating a safe room inside your home.
If you want to turn an existing room in to a safe room, the smaller the room the less material you will need to fortify it. Constructing a new room or fortifying an existing room in one of the corners of your home, will also reduce how much material you will need to purchase.You will only need to fortify the two interior walls in a corner room since both exterior walls would not need to be reinforced.
If you would have a relatively short wait for the authorities to respond to your address after a 911 call is made, you would likely not have to worry about reinforcing the ceiling & floor in the safe room you create.
Although you would need to install or replace any existing door with a strong exterior door & reinforce any interior walls the room may have.
If converting an existing room into a safe room, you will first need to remove the finish wall material like wood paneling or drywall/gypsum board on the outside of the interior walls only.
You do not want to remove any finished wall material inside the panic room itself.
Once the finished wall is removed you will want to cover the exposed wall studs with a strong material like sheets of sheet metal or plywood that is at least 5/8’’ in thickness.
It is best to screw the reinforced material you are using to the wall studs, as this will provide better strength.
Not nailing the reinforced material to the wall studs, should also prevent the finished wall material inside the room from being disturbed.
With the reinforced material screwed firmly in place, you will want to cover it with sheets of drywall or any other finished wall material you would like to use.
Prior to applying any reinforced material around the outside of the room’s entrance, it is important to take a little time to strengthen the doors frame.
This can easily be accomplished by screwing an additional wall stud to both sides of the frame & filling in or firming up any space between the top of the doors frame & the top of the wall.
To help ensure a criminal is unable to force open your panic room’s exterior door, you may want to visit my door security web page. The information on this page may also reveal security weaknesses you are not aware of with other entrance doors in your home.
Due to a lack of physical security, criminals only need to use a moderate amount of force to break-open the exterior doors in most homes.
This is why statistical information from the FBI & most other law-enforcement agencies show that in the large majority of residential break-ins, the intruder gains entry thru one of the home’s exterior doors.My door security page outlines what security weak-points exists with most residential exterior doors & it provides the most practical measures one can take to eliminate such weaknesses.
The most important thing that every safe room should have, is a reliable method for contacting the authorities in the event of an emergency.
The most reliable communication method that one currently has available to them, is likely the same one their home alarm uses for transmitting an alarm signal to their monitoring station.
If you have landline telephones in your home, it could be a reliable option to always keep a connected one inside your safe room, but only if the line coming into your residence is not exposed where it could easily be cut.
The same applies if your phone service comes from a high speed internet cable coming into your home.
If you have an unprotected phone line and/or cable entering your home, you may want to consider running one or both of them through a metal conduit to protect them.
If the phone line and/or cable can be simply accessed where it comes through the wall inside the home, this would be a very easy & worthwhile security project to do.
Many people with an exposed landline or cable outside of their home have chosen to err on the side of caution by using a cellular monitoring service.
Some use it as the primary method for transmitting their alarm signal to the monitoring station, while others use it as a backup system in the event an intruder disables their phone service before entering the home.
Locating a cell phone inside your panic room and/or using a cellular monitoring service for your alarm system, are both worthy of your consideration.
Although to make an informed decision it is important for you to know that a GSM cellular service is not the 100% reliable communication method that many monitoring companies make it out to be.
There is always the possibility that a cell signal can be compromised by a criminal using a cellular jamming device.
Though using these devices to jam cellular alarm signals in people’s homes, does not appear to be as widespread in North America at the present time as it is in parts of Europe & other places.
Although I expect this will begin to change, as more & more people start using a cellular service as their primary or backup communication method between their alarm systems & their monitoring stations.
Cellular jamming devices can easily be purchased online for less than $100 & they are very effective at jamming GSM cellular, WiFi & most other radio signals within its range.
For additional information on these jamming devices & to understand how a new security technology may impel more & more criminals to start using these devices, please visit my crash & smash attack web page.
Full Control over Phone-Line
Most monitored alarm systems would have a line seizure device that takes control of the phone line that is used to transmit an alarm signal to the monitoring station.
This prevents an intruder from interrupting this process by acquiring a dial tone on the first telephone they see.
If using a landline telephone inside your panic room, you will want to ensure a criminal cannot use the same method to prevent you from using it.
To prevent this from happening, you will first want to ensure the telephone inside the safe room is plugged directly into the phone line. Any other phones a criminal can access outside the room should be wireless & the base station for these phones needs to be kept inside the safe room.
This way you can prevent any criminal from acquiring the dial tone by simply unplugging the base station.
Even though your panic room in an emergency situation should only need to be occupied for a relatively short period of time, you should consider locating some or all of the following items inside of it.
Panic Button located inside your safe room can trigger your security system to sound & send an alarm signal to the central station. This will inform them there is an emergency situation at your residence. Your home alarm does not have to be armed for the panic button to trigger your system.
Some law-enforcement agencies require monitoring stations to try & verify it is not a false alarm prior to contacting them. Although this is not required if an occupant of the home also enters a duress code to disarm the system.
Key-Fobs that can activate a vehicles alarm or horn are very common these days & if this is something you have for any vehicle(s) at your home, you may want to keep an extra one inside your panic room.
If the two way communication method you choose for your safe room was ever compromised, then having your vehicles alarm or horn continuously sound can be an effective method for acquiring the police assistance you need.
This will certainly capture the attention of your neighbors where one of them will likely contact the police. It should also convince any criminal inside your home to quickly move on.
Flashlight(s) with fresh batteries, especially if your home’s electrical panel is not located inside your safe room.
Fire Extinguisher should be kept inside the safe room as a precaution. You need to be ready for almost anything when dealing with deranged & dangerous individuals that violently attack people in their homes.
Medication that one may require at the spur of the moment should be kept inside the panic room, such as nitroglycerin tablets for a heart condition or an inhaler for an asthma attack.
Valuables that you would never want to have stolen should also be stored inside your safe room. This would keep them secured if you & your family were ever targeted for a home invasion robbery.
They would also have a higher level of protection in the event your home was ever burglarized. Although all family members will have to follow a security protocol of ensuring the safe room door is always locked when the home is left unoccupied.
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Home Invasion Protection
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